Currently, the vast majority of websites are partially or fully inaccessible to the disability community. This current situation is the result of a number of factors. These include, but aren’t limited to:
Lack of awareness and education among web developers
Web developers unaware of the need to account for people with disabilities may unintentionally develop inaccessible websites and products. Companies and organizations that value inclusivity can benefit from exposing web developers to relevant web accessibility standards, and help them gain expertise in accessible web development.
Technical limitations and resource constraints
Limited resources can result in the failure to meet inclusive web design requirements. Planning and structuring budgetary allotments with inclusivity in mind can help organizations remove digital barriers preventing people with disabilities from accessing their products and services.
Inadequate testing and evaluation of websites
Whether a website is sufficiently inclusive is not always apparent, especially to those with limited technical prowess or to those who are unaware of web accessibility standards and best practices. Websites can be audited for accessibility, either manually, or by using an automated web accessibility testing tool, or ideally by combining both. Once one gains an understanding of their website’s level of accessibility, they can then take the necessary steps to bridge accessibility gaps, if any exist.
Neglecting user feedback
By ignoring user feedback, website owners risk fueling ongoing problems that people with disabilities encounter. Offering simple ways to report positive or negative feedback, ask for assistance, or make suggestions enables business owners to be aware of all potential website issues. By providing different feedback options throughout the website, such as email, chat, or phone support, companies can ensure they’re meeting all their users’ online needs. Needless to say, website owners and administrators will need to act upon said feedback, and remediate existing accessibility issues that are reported.
Incomplete implementation of accessibility standards
Partial implementation of accessibility standards can limit the services, content, and products that people with disabilities will be able to use.
Failure to maintain accessibility over time
Accessibility legislation and standards evolve to fit contemporary trends and technological advancements. Ensuring websites are accessible and inclusive is therefore an ongoing process. Those who do not stay informed regarding new standards can find themselves failing to provide an optimal user experience to the disability community. It is important to note that changes and additions made to a website will need to be made with users and visitors with disabilities in mind. Otherwise, members of the disability community will be met with digital barriers that will limit their ability to fully access your website.