Overall, we should be encouraged by President Biden’s legislative action concerning the digital world. As many experts predicted, he’s more aggressively enforcing digital inclusion than his predecessor. His recent executive order ensures the responsible development of digital assets, and there’s now an accessibility statement on the main Whitehouse website. Considering his commitment to digital equity and more aggressive enforcement declarations, it’s time for all organizations to comply with digital accessibility laws. 

Where do you go from here? Let’s learn more about its meaning before we discuss how you can integrate and support digital inclusion.

What Exactly is Digital Inclusion?

Digital inclusion aims to eliminate social inequalities and promote a better world for all of us. It, therefore, requires fair and secure access to use, design, and develop digital technologies and services. It involves human rights-based efforts, holistic legal policies, and multi-stakeholder strategies and actions. These initiatives address the numerous obstacles people with disabilities face in the digital world.  

But digital inclusion doesn’t happen without the power of digital accessibility. People of all abilities want an easy connection to the Internet, digital devices, services, platforms, and relevant content. This access should be affordable and technically proficient, providing numerous options for work, school, retail purchases, lifestyle choices, etc.  

Of course, every business needs a starting point to support and integrate digital inclusion measures. That begins with assessing your website’s current compliance status. 

Is Your Website Compliant?

The DOJ establishes regulations concerning the ADA and has detailed rules covering everything from elevator buttons to bathroom handlebars in the construction space. So, just get a copy of the applicable regulations to determine your compliance level and make the required changes.

Such changes are “set and forget.” For example, a handlebar lasts for years. In contrast, no such government-issued regulations apply to websites offering public services. As a result, it’s harder for businesses to determine web accessibility compliance without outside assistance. This complexity causes confusion that also makes companies vulnerable to increasingly strict litigation.

Using the ADA’s non-discrimination mandate, attorneys in numerous states have issued thousands of demand letters and filed innumerable lawsuits for plaintiffs. These actions contend that plaintiffs couldn’t access services offered by defendants’ websites, which violate the ADA and local civil rights laws. Resolving these lawsuits is tricky, and the DOJ has consistently supported the ADA, despite no clear standards to help businesses comply.

The lack of government-issued regulations created the need for standards like the WCAG. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) developed the WCAG, which sets the standards for various aspects of web development. The W3C standards have gained prominence as best practices for web design. They require that websites are perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust to people with disabilities, including visual, hearing, cognitive, and physical impairments. Litigators reference the WCAG frequently in case law, and its guidelines are considered the global gold standard.  

Fortunately, you can avoid costly legal penalties while fulfilling your ethical obligations to people with disabilities. Read on for tips to make your site more digitally accessible. 

8 Tips for Digital Equity

1. Use Proper Fonts: some customized font sizes and types make content more readable for people with vision-related disabilities, particularly on mobile devices.

2. Offer Screen Readers: Make your UX screen reader friendly for people with visual impairments, which also helps you avoid using text-imbedded images.

3. Simplify Readability: Strive for straightforward content that avoids jargon and follows accessibility best practices for headlines, body copy, and buttons.

4. Avoid Flashing Content: Flickering visual elements can induce seizures in people with specific disabilities.

5. Simplify Your Links: Links should be easy to click and include salient calls to action. Avoid using generic verbiage like “click here” for buttons. Instead, use descriptive language like “Get Product Details.”

6. Use Proper Color Contrast: Use a third-party color contrast checker to ensure you get the variables right.

7. Fortify Your Backend: Accessibility is more than design, so don’t rely solely on your UX team for implementation. Your back-end code is also a key ingredient in this formula, so always involve developers and related teams to ensure everyone is on the same page.

8. Test Your Site for Accessibility: Testing is the only way to know if something works before the general public uses it. Be sure to involve people with disabilities in these efforts for the best results, and be mindful of their feedback to make the necessary changes. 

Let’s Turn Talk Into Action

It’s easy to discuss promoting, protecting, and respecting every human’s right to use and enjoy digital assets. Many people talk about considering the needs of individuals so nobody’s left behind. But President Biden has taken tangible steps to advance digital inclusion, so we should all learn from his example. 

Sure, it all starts with a public conversation, but let’s support that with web policies that address accessibility. Digital accessibility enhances your UX for people with disabilities and helps protect your business from the next wave of related litigation. Most importantly, you can feel good about supporting digital inclusion for people of all backgrounds and abilities. 

See why UserWay should be your only choice for digital accessibility and legal compliance. 

UserWay: Inclusion Starts with Accessibility

All companies need help regarding digital accessibility and compliance. UserWay provides a robust suite of tools and solutions to simplify the process. Learn how UserWay’s AI-powered tools automatically identify and remediate compliance violations and create a seamless user experience for everyone.

Get started with a free trial or book time with a UserWay accessibility expert today.

Answers to Common FAQs

What is the Core Concept Behind Digital Inclusion?

Digital inclusion promotes equitable, affordable access to digital technologies (e.g., websites and mobile devices) for people of all ability levels. 

What are the Challenges of Digital Inclusion?

For people with disabilities, challenges include accessing the web, staying on the web, UX obstacles, lack of support systems, and cultural apathy. 

How Can We Deter Digital Exclusion?

In addition to assistive tech, we must promote and support access to inexpensive web connections and devices.