Research: 73% of Accessibility Professionals See Increase in Accessibility Awareness on Digital Channels Throughout the Pandemic
Latest Deque report underscores the impact of COVID-19 on digital accessibility, noting an impact on volume of work, budget, users with disabilities and digital services
Deque Systems, a leading software company specializing in digital accessibility, released this year’s COVID-19 Digital Accessibility Report, which assesses the overall impact of the pandemic on digital accessibility. The report includes key areas such as, volume of work, impacted budget, the experiences of users with disabilities and impact on digital services.
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“While digital accessibility has continued to gain awareness and attention in both the public and private sectors, it’s critical to embolden the employees who help make accessibility a reality.”
“While digital accessibility has continued to gain awareness and attention in both the public and private sectors, it’s critical to embolden the employees who help make accessibility a reality. This survey was conducted to spread a greater understanding of the current state of digital accessibility, including how it has changed, both positively and negatively, due to the pandemic,” said Preety Kumar, CEO, Deque. “At the very least, we want to increase awareness about how the pandemic is impacting the disabled community, especially when it comes to their access to digital services. As such, this survey continues to prove that there is still a significant amount of work to do when it comes to improving attitudes toward the importance of digital accessibility.”
As people’s lives grew more reliant on digital and web services over the past 18 months, the survey found that COVID-19 impacted digital channels as hard as everyone expected.
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Notable findings from the survey include:
- Accessibility professionals noted a 32% year-over-year increase in the number of reports from users with disabilities, who encountered barriers to digital services during the pandemic.
- As a result, 65% of accessibility professionals surveyed cited their workload increased over the last year, which is a 23% increase where the number of respondents from last year’s survey cited an increased workload, starting at the beginning of the pandemic.
- While 73% of respondents reported that COVID-19 increased overall awareness around digital accessibility, the majority of respondents still unfortunately believe accessibility received the lowest level of internal attention during the pandemic compared to other key aspects of their digital services.
- In fact, 24% of accessibility testing budgets were decreased and 39% remained flat throughout the pandemic, despite the increase in awareness and volume of work.
In partnership with the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) and G3ict Research, this report was conducted by Deque Systems in August-September of 2021, surveying 270 accessibility experts across various industries, and compared the results to the previous year’s survey, which was conducted in March-April of 2020.