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Access for All: Embracing an Inclusive Online Future

By UsableNet on May 4, 2024
Topics: Web Accessibility

In recent years, more people have become aware of disabilities and how important it is for everyone to access everything, including the internet. As we move forward into 2024, it's clear that making websites accessible to everyone is a necessity. 
There are many reasons for this, and they all point to a future where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can fully participate in online activities.

Why Web Accessibility Matters

Let's look at some important numbers that show why web accessibility matters:

  • Over a billion people are estimated to live with some form of disability, which can include blindness, deafness, and a variety of others. This corresponds to about 15 percent of the world's population.
  • One in four U.S. adults—over 61 million Americans—have a disability that impacts major life activities.
  • About 217 million people worldwide have moderate to severe vision impairment, which is expected to triple from 36 million to 115 million by 2050. In addition, 826 million people live with a near-vision impairment.
  • The average person with a disability can expect to spend eight years, or 11.5 percent of their life, actively managing their disability.
  • Approximately 40 percent of adults age 65 and up have one or more disabilities.

The Economic Impact

People with disabilities have a lot of money to spend—The total after-tax disposable income for working-age people with disabilities is nearly $490 billion. Yet despite having a discretionary income of about $21 billion many disabled people have trouble using websites to buy things.

A 2016 Survey found that 73 percent of disabled people in the UK have trouble finishing simple tasks on more than a quarter of the websites they visit.

Despite using special software, 86% still have problems with websites. However, 82% say they would return to a website that is easy to use.

See our full guide on web and app accessibility. >>

Lawsuits can be costly financially and to your reputation 

Non-compliance with accessibility standards can lead to costly lawsuits, as evidenced by the thousands of claims filed in recent years. Moreover, public disputes like Domino's legal battle with a blind customer can tarnish a company's reputation and affect consumer trust and loyalty.

Benefits of Prioritizing Accessibility

Acting promptly to address accessibility issues yields several benefits:

  • Enhancing brand integrity by demonstrating your commitment to equality and the universal right to access information and services.
  • Improving search engine rankings and reducing bounce rates through optimized SEO.
  • Avoiding financial losses associated with legal expenses and emergency design upgrades.
  • Fostering innovation by embracing new solutions to longstanding accessibility challenges.

Embrace Social Responsibility and Prepare for the Future

Making websites accessible goes beyond following laws; it's about showing everyone they deserve equal access to information and services. As our population ages and changes, making websites easy to use will become even more vital for the future.

As you think about how to future-proof your online business, consider these statistics:

  • By 2050, the global population of individuals aged 60 years and older is expected to reach 2 billion, with many facing age-related disabilities that affect digital access.
  • Studies suggest that over 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, such as arthritis or impaired vision, which can impact their ability to navigate digital interfaces.
  • Research indicates that individuals 65 and older are the fastest-growing demographic on social media platforms, highlighting the increasing importance of digital accessibility for older adults.
  • According to an AARP survey, 87% of adults aged 50 and older use the Internet regularly, relying on digital platforms for various activities, including healthcare, finance, and social connection.

By ensuring that everyone, regardless of ability, can fully participate in the digital landscape, businesses fulfill their social responsibility and prepare for the demographic shifts ahead.

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Founded in 2000, UsableNet created some of the first tools and platforms to make websites accessible and usable for all people. Starting out, we worked with government agencies as well as universities and corporations. Today, accessibility has become important to almost all companies. We provide accessibility solutions to Fortune 1000 companies, small and medium enterprises, government, and education organizations across industries including retail, travel, hospitality, food services, automotive, financial services, and healthcare.

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