Why Web Accessibility Should be a Priority Now: 3 Stats to Prove It
Aside from the potential costs of waiting to implement accessibility on your website, there are many other reasons why web teams should get started on accessibility initiatives now. Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of making websites available to everyone – of all abilities and disabilities.
Whether web accessibility has been on your mind for a while or is something completely new to you, here are three stats to prove why it should be a top priority:
1. The aging population is predicted to triple to 1.5 billion by 2050
As the population ages through 2050, people’s difficulty with accessing what they need on the internet will only become more of a challenge, making web accessibility even more important.
In fact, around 80 million people in the European Union (EU) currently have a disability. As the EU’s population ages, the number of people with disabilities or age-related internet access difficulties is expected to increase to 120 million by 2020. In the U.S., there are currently about 56.7 million Americans with a disability, and by 2060 the number of people 65 or older is expected to double to 98 million. In the APAC region, approximately 20% of Australians have a disability, and by 2042, the number of people age 65 or older is expected to reach 6.2 million (about 25% of the population).
So what does this all mean? It means if your website is inaccessible, you are potentially excluding 20% of the population from the conversation on your site. This percentage is only going to grow. Between being accessible for your visitors now and thinking about your future audience, implementing web accessibility initiatives should be a priority now.
2. 23% of web accessibility-related litigation and settlements since 2000 happened in the past three years
While this stat is specific to U.S.-related litigation and settlements through the end of 2015, it doesn’t mean that accessibility-related legislation isn’t on the rise throughout the world.
From the European Commission and the Equality Act 2010 in the UK to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), legislation and government web accessibility initiatives are most likely going to become increasingly important and more stringent over time.
And while not all web accessibility-related incidents end up in lawsuits, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Not to mention, making your website accessible for all web visitors is the right thing to do. It’s time to embrace the challenge of web accessibility.
3. Mobile screen reader usage has increased by 70%
From 2009 to 2014, mobile screen reader usage increased from 12% to 82%, a huge increase in just five years. There is a lot of talk about optimizing content for mobile and providing the best user experience possible as mobile device usage increases. The same holds true for mobile accessibility.
If the mobile screen reader usage has increased this much, it will likely continue to rise. That’s why optimizing your content for mobile accessibility and a good user experience matters now.
For example, if you create a landing page with a form, you should test the content on a mobile device. If the form is on the right-hand side of the page on a desktop, it most likely is going to be above or below the content on a mobile device. Regardless of whether someone is using a screen reader, it could be confusing to state “fill out the form on the right” when it may be above or below. You should focus on ensuring the content and form is easy to find and fill out, regardless of device or disability.
So what do you think? Is web accessibility a priority for your team? If you want to get started on creating a more accessible website, then download our e-book, The Must-Have Web Accessibility Handbook. And if you’re an educational institution interested in learning more about web accessibility, don’t forget to sign up for our webinar Creating an Accessibility Action Plan, where accessibility stakeholders will share what educational institutions need to know to become ADA-compliant.