33 years ago in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act, commonly called ADA, was signed into law. The ADA protects Americans living with disabilities from discrimination, in addition to requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees and enforcing accessibility requirements for public accommodations. Today, the ADA protects approximately 61 million adults living with disabilities in the United States. That’s 26 percent of Americans!
Under the ADA, state and local governments as well as businesses that are open to the public must be accessible to Americans living with disabilities. This also applies to the websites operated by those governments and businesses. Many state and local governments now provide services such as paying tickets, filing police reports, and filing tax documents online. Businesses that are open to the public also have online presences fulfilling a variety of services. Governments and businesses alike must provide accommodations to people with disabilities so that they are able to access these services.
"The ADA’s requirements apply to all the goods, services, privileges, or activities offered by public accommodations, including those offered on the web." - ADA.gov
To celebrate the ADA’s anniversary, let’s go through a quick list of 10 facts about website accessibility you might not know.
- 62% of adults with a disability in the United States own a desktop or laptop, and 72% own a smartphone.
- 59.6% of Americans with a disability live in a household with internet access.
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, are web accessibility guidelines published by international internet standards organization the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
- According to a 2023 WebAIM study, 96.3% of website home pages have WCAG 2 failures.
- An estimated 90% of websites are inaccessible to people who rely on assistive technology.
- Low contrast text, missing alternative text for images, empty links, missing form labels, empty buttons, and missing document language are the six most common types of WCAG compliance errors.
- Addressing these six most common types of WCAG errors would significantly improve overall web accessibility.
- Even automated testing tools are not enough to make a website fully compliant. Automated accessibility testing tools alone only catch around 25% of accessibility issues.
- Organizations can be sued for website accessibility issues. In 2020, 3,500 digital accessibility lawsuits were filed in the United States.
- Improving your website’s accessibility has many benefits including making your website more usable for those with disabilities and avoiding potential lawsuits. Improved accessibility can also increase your website traffic, improve SEO, and help you reach a broader audience.
Accessibility is a core tenant of the way that we build solutions at Softrams. We ensure that as many people as possible can use our products and solutions as possible, unimpeded. As we pursue our mission to reshape the digital landscape, we strive to positively impact all people in the United States and accessibility is an enormous part of that journey.