Some people believe that having an accessible website means that it’s ‘live’ and you can access it from a computer or mobile device. Others think about ramps, lifts, access maps and disabled toilets for the physical location that a website might be pointing visitors to. The truth is, being ‘accessible’ online is a whole lot more than that. And that ‘whole lot more’ is simply not clearly understood by the majority of people who build, code, design, write, or project manage websites.
Digital agencies and suppliers who are across web accessibility, gain a competitive advantage when dealing with Government agencies and corporates, ensure a great user experience for those with a disability (and everyone else), and also mitigate the litigation risk for clients. Three great reasons to get accessible!
Government agencies and businesses are increasingly including accessibility as a critical requirement in their tenders. Why? One in five Australians have a disability, some of whom find it difficult to access web content due to poor design and coding. Add to this our ageing population, and more people than ever coming to Australia with English as a second language, and it all adds up to millions of people with massive spending power and influence.
A recent annual survey conducted by UK public sector IT association Socitm, has revealed that around one in three UK councils and local Government authorities failed a test for accessibility based on how closely their websites complied with the WCAG 2.0 global web standard. What’s more, the ‘pass’ figure of 69% is down from 77% in 2016, albeit with a slightly more demanding scenario this year.
The Better Connected survey results released in May 2017 were focused on 195 tested websites – all of which had previously passed a level-1 ‘basics’ test in December 2016, as Media Access Australia reported earlier this year. The result this time around was that 61 of them failed the follow-up level-2 test, as they could not provide an acceptable level of site accessibility to users with disabilities, based on a specified online task.