Why It Matters
It's the right thing to do.
People with disabilities are far more likely to run into barriers that prevent access to systems and content, or the services behind those than people without disabilities. IT resources must be intentional in their design to account for individuals with a wide variety of disabilities.
It's the law.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Sections 504, and 508 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other laws and regulations mandate civil rights for individuals with disabilities, and requires accessible technology for said persons, respectively. It is important to remember that core of these laws, regulations, policies, and procedures is to provide equal access to the University of Michigan for individuals with disabilities.
IT Accessibility is not just a technical commitment.
IT Accessibility is a commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Intentionally supporting a culture and environment of inclusion and support for all people is integral to being a member of the U-M community.
Who It Affects
1 in 4 adults in the United States identify as having a disability.
According to the United States Census Bureau 2014 data , 27.2% of people living in the United States have a disability. And approximately 1 in 6 people globally. When we look at those numbers as the people they represent, we can see the impact of exclusion would be substantial. Some disabilities are hidden or may not immediately be apparent.
Disability is an equal opportunist.
At any point in our lives one may become temporarily, situationally, or permanently disabled; whether one: breaks an arm and can only type with one hand, has trouble viewing their mobile device due to glare from the Sun, or has had a disability for a substantial amount of time. Accessibility impacts everyone, so it is important that we design for all. The need for accessible technology extends far beyond the basic perception of disability. Designing information technology and digital content to be accessible is an essential part of development, design, and sharing information.
This article introduces how people with disabilities use the web.
How Good Accessibility Can Help You
Good accessibility benefits everyone involved.
Accessible technology has led to innovations like Siri, speech to text dictation, touch screen devices, and much more. Accessible design often breeds innovative technology. Additonally, the idea of universal design is that spaces, technologies, and experiences are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
Other benefits of IT accessibility include:
- Increased usability and user experience
- Improved SEO
- Higher quality code
- And more
Explore more perspectives on the impact and benefits of accessibility for everyone.
- WebAIM: Introduction to Web Accessibility
- Shawn Lawton Henry: Understanding Web Accessibility
- Rosenfeld: Personas for Accessible UX
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