Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2022
On the third Thursday of May, accessibility advocates and organizations around the world rally for Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The overarching goal is to shed light on the critical need for more inclusive digital content. And with the increasing pace of digital transformation, that need is greater than ever. To put things into perspective, we’ll let the numbers do the talking:
1 billion people worldwide have some form of disability.
90% of websites are inaccessible to people with disabilities who rely on assistive technology.
71% of website visitors with disabilities will leave a website that is not accessible.
2021 saw a total of 4,055 ADA-related cases – a 15% increase from 2020.
These stats are consistent with the increase in demand we’ve seen from individuals, enterprise teams, and developers all looking to be more inclusive with transcripts, captions, and subtitles.
Many organizations have started to identify opportunities to increase accessibility, but there’s often a knowledge gap when it comes to navigating compliance laws and guidelines like Section 508, ADA, ACAA, and more.
It’s true that there’s no such thing as “perfect accessibility” or a site being 100% accessible. Accessibility is more of a journey than a destination. So our goal is to equip you with as many resources—beyond our ADA-compliant captions, transcripts, and subtitles—to help you ask the right questions and make strides toward making the web a more inclusive space.
A brief overview of common accessibility terms
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that was created in 1990. Its goal? To help keep the same rights and opportunities open for people with disabilities. Thus, ADA prohibits discrimination against any person with disabilities in all areas of public life – this includes the use of anything available for public consumption on the internet.
In line with this, the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) came up with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
WCAG is a set of instructions guiding businesses how to make their web pages more accessible to users with disabilities. These have since been updated to WCAG 2.0, WCAG 2.1, and WCAG 2.2, as new scenarios required new guidelines.
The WAI also came up with a rating system for determining how compliant a website is to these guidelines. This rating is based on a set of tests or “success criteria” which businesses must pass.
There are three levels of rating that businesses receive based on how compliant they are. The lowest is A conformance, next is AA conformance, and the highest level is AAA conformance.
How to improve website accessibility for your organization
Now that it’s clear that website accessibility is not a nice-to-have feature but a must-have business need, how do you comply faster?
We’ve attached checklists and additional how-to content below, but here are four things you can start with:
#1. Create text captions for multimedia
Adding readable transcripts helps deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals access video, webinar, podcast, and other multimedia content.
Meanwhile, text captions also make multimedia accessible for those who experience visual impairments via screen readers. Screen readers are apps that read captions aloud or convert them to braille. Using transcripts compatible with screen readers enables you to cover the needs of this demographic as well.
Rev’s transcription services help businesses comply with these standards quickly and affordably. With 99% accuracy and a <12-hour turnaround time, you can easily upload captions to your content.
#2. Create text captions for non-text content
There are several things in your website that need text captions in order to be more accessible, including:
- Images, illustrations and other graphics
- Videos, audio, and other non-text content
- Social media posts, GIFs, memes, and other abstract visuals
- Icons, buttons, and other user interface visual elements
- Charts, graphs, diagrams, infographics and other data visualizations
#3. Create live captions for meetings
While it’s easy enough to create transcripts for pre-recorded multimedia, what about live events? Public service announcements, business meetings, educational webinars, live question-and-answer forums, and other time-sensitive meetings require live captioning.
This can become a pain point for businesses, especially those that need to continue working on cloud-based platforms to support their remote workforce. Rev Live Captions allows organizations to automatically add real-time captions to Zoom meetings and webinars.
#4. Make text more readable
In this section, the WCAG states that businesses must do the work of making sure their website content is legible.
These guidelines were made to avoid cases such as:
- Text being too small to read
- Inconsistent spacing between letters that confuses screen readers from reading words correctly
- Fonts with colors that blend too close to the background
To avoid these issues, follow the WCAG’s guidelines for:
- Minimum and maximum text size
- Recommended typography combinations
- Correct contrast ratio between text and background
- Ideal text spacing for readability
Additional accessibility resources
- 5 Ways to Make Your Virtual Event More Accessible
- How to Spot & Avoid Casual Ableism When Speaking About Disabilities
- When Are Closed Captions Required by Law?
- The Best (and Worst) Font Colors for Closed Captions on Videos
- The Top 10 Accessibility Blogs To Follow
- Navigating Deafness in a Digital World: Q&A With Rachel Kolb
- Tips for Talking to Superiors About Accessibility
For more ways to make your organization more accessible this year, download our free accessibility checklist below.