Digital Accessibility Leading the Way for Businesses Today
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Digital Accessibility Leading the Way for Businesses Today

By CIOReview | Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Brands must step up their efforts to reach the broadest potential audience online or risk being left behind.

Fremont, CA: Digital accessibility will impact everything brands do in the future, and they must begin planning today. Microsoft, for example, launched the AI for Accessibility program to encourage investment in AI-powered solutions with the goal of enabling more people with impairments to utilize technology. The program has supported initiatives ranging from accessible and intuitive chatbots that streamline the application and interview process to AI-powered apps that assist persons with disabilities in doing ordinary manufacturing duties.

Additionally, digital accessibility is a wise commercial move. According to the CDC, when it comes to the pandemic and cell phones, one in four Americans has a disability, and marketers need to redouble their efforts to reach as many people as possible online or risk being left behind in the digital age. As a new economy of tech-forward, contract-free customer service emerges from mobile shopping devices to QR codes and virtual marketing and sales events, accessibility is crucial in ensuring that all consumers and brands can participate.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been used in various fields, including healthcare, construction, and retail. Allowing customers with disabilities to "try on" clothes in a VR setting could change the way people shop in stores. By next year, people are expected to spend more than $21 billion on VR and AR. VR and AR could play a huge role in accessibility efforts.

However, there is still more to be done. According to an annual analysis of the top million websites in the world, 97 percent of them failed a basic accessibility test, which means they had easily fixable flaws like low-contrast text, a lack of alternative text for images, or a design or interface that was known to be difficult to navigate for people with disabilities. Shopping sites, although receiving numerous customer complaints and lawsuits, were among the least accessible.

Businesses should consider the accessibility impact of fonts, colors, audio-visual elements, and layout decisions in their ad campaigns and marketing materials on a larger scale, as well as provide closed-captioned videos across social media and other platforms, in all relevant languages and translations.