9 Reasons Why Accessibility Matters

Why does making your site accessible matter? First let’s give a definition of accessibility, I like Jim Thatcher’s best. “Basically, technology is accessible if it can be used as effectively by people with disabilities as by those without.”

  1. 12.8 percent of adults (21-64) are disabled in some way. Bjelland, M.J., Erickson, W. A., Lee, C. G. (2008, November 8). Disability Statistics from the American Community Survey (ACS). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics (StatsRRTC). Retrieved April 7, 2009 from www.disabilitystatistics.org
  2. 8 to 12% of males of European origin have a color deficiency. Accessibility and the Web
  3. 5.5 million people have obstructed vision because of cataracts. - Statistics on Blindness and Blinding Diseases in the United States
  4. 4.2 million people have impaired vision because of corneal dystrophies. - Statistics on Blindness and Blinding Diseases in the United States
  5. Worldwide, 42 million people are blind. - Statistics on Blindness and Blinding Diseases in the United States
  6. Approximately 17 percent (36 million) of American adults report some degree of hearing loss - NIDCD Health Information
  7. Only 1 out of 5 people who could benefit from a hearing aid actually wears one - NIDCD Health Information
  8. 5% of people have javascript turned off - W3 Schools
  9. Internet Explorer 6 still has a 17% browser share - W3 Schools

Using IE6 isn't a disability, but it does fall into the realm of accessibility. Choices you make on your site platform and design can limit who has access to your site. Identify your links with only color? Did you eliminate 12% of the male population from seeing those links? Use sound without captions? Did you just remove 36 million Americans from your viewing audience? How many people do you remove from your audience if your site requires the use of a mouse and not just a keyboard? These all add up, and they add up quickly. Each accessibility problem you have removes people from your audience. Maybe the real reason that you haven't become a famous blogger is that the right people just haven't been able to see your site yet.

Interested in 9 Ways to Make Your Site More Accessible?