For the diversability (diverse ability) community, accessibility is a vital component to living a somewhat “normal” life. It helps create equity and promote a healthier, more full life for individuals from all walks of life.
There is no question that the past couple of years have been turbulent, especially for the diversability community. COVID-19 has changed the way that people view accessibility and has even made life more challenging for some groups.
On the other side of that coin, new technology is constantly being developed to create a more equitable world. Below, we explore some of the most important accessibility trends and changes in 2021.
Website accessibility has been at the forefront of accessibility trends in 2021. If your organization has recently received a letter from a law firm regarding accessibility compliance, rest assured that you are not alone.
Private businesses and government agencies alike have seen a rise in accessibility claims over the last few years. The best way to avoid receiving one of these letters is to create an accessible website from the beginning.
We have written extensively about web accessibility over the last few months. If you have questions or are wondering what your next steps are, these resources are a great place to start:
- What to do if you receive an ADA Demand letter
- Creating an accessible website
- Six ways to make your website more accessible
- Design trends for website accessibility
Ultimately, websites need to be easy to read, easy to navigate, and easy to understand.
One of the most useful tools for people with disabilities today is a smartphone. While they started out as not particularly friendly for accessibility, that has certainly changed in recent years. iPhone, Android, and app developers have all been working to create an incredibly user-friendly experience.
Phones allow for talk-to-text features, screen readers, large text options, contrast changes, and more that can significantly help people with hearing or vision impairments. Additionally, apps such as Google Maps and Apple Maps offer voice navigation for those with visual impairments. This is especially useful for those living in cities or visiting places they have not been to previously.
There are also dozens of apps available that help people with both physical and mental disabilities to operate with more independence, including one that shows a map of all wheelchair-accessible bathrooms and local businesses!
How COVID-19 Has Changed Accessibility
Vision-impaired individuals often rely on touch, while those who are Deaf or hard of hearing may usually read lips and use facial expressions to interpret language. With masks and social distancing in place, a significant portion of the diversability community has been adversely affected.
Additionally, the need for information in a variety of formats has become even more glaringly apparent. Lifesaving health information about COVID-19 MUST be accessible to everyone. For many businesses and government organizations, this has meant rethinking the way that they approach accessibility.
While it has certainly been a hurdle the past year, the silver lining is greater visibility and awareness for the community!
Questions about your organization’s accessibility capabilities? Contact Applied Development today online or give us a call at 410.571.4016.