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Introduction

People wh disabilies have a lot on their plates. Every life can be a struggle, and finding ways to navigate poses many challenges. 

For an already tumultuous existence, the introduction of COVID-19 has turned many of their worlds upside down. There has been a substantial shift in nearly every aspect of , including the transference to a technology-centric way of life. 

Wh COVID, having access to technology is no longer an option— is a necessy. Social distancing dictates that humans must connect through phones and computers, but for disabled people this is not always feasible. 

Because of this massive upheaval of in-person contact and subsequent lawsus against them, the American Disabily Act (ADA) has established an addional section of accessibily compliance standards specifically geared tods webses and mobile devices.

Accessibily Compliance Standards and Web Content Accessibily Guidelines

Both the ADA and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have produced sets of policies that are intended to make accessible to all disabled people. This is because there was a lack of accessible mobile apps and webses that met prior compliance standards. 

Accessibily Compliance Standards

The ADA’s accessibily compliance standards requires that alternatives be provided for people wh disabilies. You may see things like this when there are subtles available or if there is a ramp along wh a set of stairs. 

However, up until the COVID technological shift, webses were not included—only physical places. Thus, they introduced section 508 to incorporate all ses, including government ses and any related buesses.

To validate adherence to accessibily compliance standards, the owner must have s se or app verified by an accessibily specialist. They will determine whether or not the program meets both the ADA and W3’s compliance standards and guidelines.

The owner has the option of issuing an accessibily statement, which has information on:

  • What was known to be tested and level of compliance
  • What has not been tested and a disclaimer that you are not responsible 
  • How to contact you in the event of an aud

Though helpful, releag an accessibily statement does not guarantee that you will not be victim of a lawsu. Even the smallest adjustment to the se or app that is not tested could invalidate the entire statement. 

Because npicking through a webse or app to determine s level of compliance can be tedious and time-consuming, automated accessibily testing softe has been crafted to do for you. 

Notwhstanding, there is no equivalent for an actual accessibily specialist, as the softe poses a couple :

  • When facing legal persecution, the court may not accept automatic evaluations 
    • Sometimes, they only accept validation from an actual certified accessibily specialist
  • Most only locate about 25% of the noncompliance incidences 

Even though each province, country, and state has s own regulations, if your market is on a global scale, the owner must meet all of their standards.

Web Content Accessibily Guidelines (WCAG)

The W3 has established s own set of standards that is frequently updated, which are known as the Web Content Accessibily Guidelines (WCAG)—we are currently on version 2.1. 

However, unlike the ADA’s regulations, the WCAG 2.1 are merely guidelines. This means that they are not as strictly enforced through the W3. 

Under the WCAG 2.1, accessible content is defined as:

  • Robust
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Perceivable 

Browsers, softe applications, and operating systems are targeted whin these guidelines. They also have varying levels of conformance to determine the severy of violations. 

Some of s guidelines recommend:

  • Adjusting visuals, including
    • Color
    • Page layouts 
    • Alt. text for all images
  • Making things more ergonomic, by
    • Including keyboard navigation
    • Assuring softe from all platforms (ex. Microsoft Office and PDFs) is accessible
    • Including focus states for links to help wh readabil
  • Altering content and structure, by
    • Including clear, concise links
    • Including a tle, headings, and clearly visible text
    • Making content left aligned

These are just a few of the WCAG 2.1’s guidelines, but the other recommended guidelines are plentiful. They can always be built upon and improved, and they are taking great strides to make technology more accessible for disabled people.

How Can We Make Things More Accessible?

Depending on their needs, disabled people should have a plethora of options available to help them navigate electronic devices. Take, for instance, those wh psychological disabilies—the following factors could be adjusted to make things easier:

  • Sentence structure
  • Page layouts
  • Whe space

The blind or deaf/blind could be aided wh:

  • Brightness settings
  • Transcriptions/captions
  • Magnification 

Those wh temporary or permanent disabilies/injuries could use:

  • Audible softe
  • Keyboard tab navigation 

People wh cognive or learning disabilies would benef from:

  • Removal of animation and automated videos
  • Simplified page layouts (on any device)

And, finally, those wh travel impairments could receive accommodations for:

  • Food services/deliveries
  • Accessible hotel reservations
  • Distanced or portable doctor appointments

Innovative advocates are constantly building upon these ideas to improve accessibily.

Conclusion 

For the disabled, functioning during a technology-based and pandemic-ridden can be nearly insurmountable. However, organizations such as the ADA and the W3 are trying their best to make things more accessible for them. 

Making things easier to perceive, ergonomically friendly, and comprehendible for all are the ultimate goals of organizations such as the aforementioned. Regularly doing research and building on existing policies and guidelines allows us to take continued strides to a more balanced .

Wh the newest addion of section 508 to the accessibily compliance standards and the updated version of the WCAG 2.1, we have come even farther in assisting people wh disabilies as much as possible when trying to operate phones and computers effectively.

Continued support from the communy, buess owners, corporations, and government departments will be able to assist disabled people both on a micro and macro scale during these trying times—they can help wh every life at home and functionaly at or in school. 

We have come a long way, but there is still a long road ahead of us!

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