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Top 6 Web Accessibility Myths - Busted!

May 07, 2021

When it comes to web accessibility, there are many misconceptions. Although accessibility in websites is not a new concept, it still is not implemented as often as it should be and these misconceptions may play a big part in why.

So, let us look at some of the biggest myths about web accessibility.

1. It’s all about screen readers

Although screen readers may be the first thing that comes to mind when some people hear “web accessibility,” there are many other factors that need to be considered when designing an accessible website. Screen readers are great for those who are blind, vision-impaired, or illiterate, however, people with other disabilities such as colour blindness, cognitive disabilities, physical disabilities, and hearing impairments depend on website accessibility as well, all which require different considerations that may have nothing to do with a screen reader.

2. Web accessibility does not affect the majority of users, so why bother with it

Fifteen percent may seem like a small number to some, but with the world’s population currently at ~7.8 Billion people, that means 1.1 Billion people live with a disability, which is no small number. If everyone’s needs are not considered when designing a website, even simple everyday tasks can become very frustrating and even impossible. Imagine not being able to buy your grocery online and check the news or weather. With the recent events, full cities on lockdown and the majority of services moving increasingly online, it is paramount to have an accessible website for risk of shutting those 1.1 Billion people out of the world entirely.

World Map that says 15%
of the world’s population lives with a disability.

3. I can just use an app on my website to make it accessible

While various apps are now available that offer simple plugins to “make your website more accessible”, it does not cover every issue. Accessibility widgets only catch about ~30% of website issues. That means there are roughly ~70% of issues not being addressed. Some of these issues include text in an image, keyboard traps, mislabeled form fields, and missing links, just to name a few.

4. Accessible websites have to be ugly

Websites DO NOT have to be ugly to be accessible. A simple color contrast or text size can make a difference in being accessible and not accessible. Technology has come a long way since the start of the internet, and websites do not have to be plain text on a screen in order to fit accessibility guidelines. You can create beautiful, engaging, and creative websites and still take everyone’s needs into consideration.

5. It takes too much time and money to include accessibility

Some developers believe that it costs too much time and money to make their website accessible. That is usually because they are not starting it from the beginning of their design & build process. If you take accessibility into consideration throughout the whole project, it takes very little extra time, therefore, costs little to no extra money in comparison to the amount it saves you down the line. The cost of auditing and editing a current website to make it accessible in response to a lawsuit is much higher.

Image of coins and a time glass

6. I’ve been told my website is 100% accessible

It is basically impossible for a website to be 100% accessible. Although we do our best to make our websites accessible to everyone, we will never make it accessible to every single person. Research is constantly being conducted and the accessibility guidelines continue to grow and change to account for more disabilities. This should not dishearten you though, as long as we are trying to make the web more accessible, it is a starting point and one day it will hopefully be 100% accessible to everyone.

If you have taken all the steps to make your website accessible, we are thrilled. Yes, you have adhered to the WCAG guidelines and on certain tools your website gets a 100% success score, but that does not inherently mean your website is 100% accessible. A checklist and a tool can never replicate the human experience and are there as markers to help us do our best. Trust your users, and if one raises a concern with the accessibility of your website, do what you can to address it. At the end of the day, accessibility is all about the people using the websites and not the score.

Notes

Written by

Cyndi Dodd

Junior designer + tech geek in training, Accessibility Advocate, Wife, Mother, Glitter loving crafty magnolia, Southern sweet tea drinker

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