Myths in digital Accessibility
Much of society is now heavily dependent on digital technologies. Yet despite the far-reaching benefits they offer, much digital content and platforms are still not designed to be accessible. However, digital accessibility plays a crucial role in equal opportunities and inclusion for persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, there are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding this topic today. Below, we will debunk some of the most common myths about digital accessibility:
Myth 1: Accessibility is only relevant to disabled persons.
This is one of the biggest misconceptions. In fact, accessible digital content and platforms benefit many persons, not just those with disabilities. This includes the elderly, persons with temporary impairments, persons with low reading ability, or persons who are in an environment where they cannot play sound or video. Accessibility improves the user experience for everyone and enables everyone to participate equally in digital life.
Myth 2: Accessibility means sacrificing certain designs or features.
This is definitely a common myth. Accessibility does not refer to sacrificing certain design or functional aspects, but to designing them in such a way that they are accessible to all. It is about developing digital content so that it can be understood and used by all persons, regardless of their individual abilities. Accessible design can be achieved through smart planning and implementation without compromising aesthetics or functionality.
Myth 3: Accessibility is too expensive and burdensome.
It's true that implementing accessible features and designs can add cost. But it's important to think of this as a long-term investment. By incorporating accessible principles into the development process from the beginning, you can avoid the cost of rework or lawsuits later on. In addition, there are many resources and guidelines available to help companies and developers implement accessible solutions in a cost-effective manner.
Myth 4: Accessibility is only relevant to government entities or large businesses.
Accessibility doesn't only affect government entities or large businesses. In fact, many countries have legal requirements that mandate digital accessibility for all organizations, regardless of size. Every website, online store or mobile app should be accessible to accommodate all users.
Myth 5: Accessibility is a one-time process.
Digital accessibility is not a one-time task, but an ongoing process. Technologies and standards are constantly evolving, and it is important that accessible designs and features keep pace with the latest developments. Regular review and updating of digital content is necessary to ensure it remains accessible to all users.
Meanwhile, my first slide at events, where accessibility newbies in particular are present, is to dispel these and other myths. This usually grabs persons in a sensitive spot because they've probably held many of these thoughts themselves.