Five Myths About Digital Accessibility


Crystal (00:00):
(laughs).

Ghost (00:00):
Hello. I wanna play a game. The game I wanna play is very similar.

Crystal (00:26):
No, this video’s about digital accessibility.

Ghost (00:38):
Um, make sense to, um, uh, to me. Uh, okay. Let’s talk about digital accessibility. Digital accessibility is designing and building websites, applications, and digital technology so people with disabilities can access and use them. While advancing technology through the internet, computers, and mobile phones are generally thought to impact human lives and society positively, but advancement doesn’t come equally for everyone. The inaccessibility of digital technology is a considerable problem for people with disabilities as technology has become a necessity of modern life, not a luxury.

(01:08):
A significant reason technology remains inaccessible to disabled people is the misconceptions and preconceived assumptions towards accessibility that [inaudible 00:01:15] companies that build the technology. Today, we’re bringing the ugliness inside of inaccessible digital technology out into the open. You will be presented with five of the most widespread myths about accessibility and for you to stay alive.

Crystal (01:28):
I told you I’m not paying for that, just due to voiceovers.

Ghost (01:32):
Fine. You will be presented with five of the most widespread myths about accessibility. Crystal will provide the facts to challenge and demystify what it means to make digital technology accessible, access to light or remain in the isolated shadows. The choice is yours. Myth number one: people with disabilities don’t use the internet. What? People believe that?

Crystal (01:55):
Yeah.

Ghost (01:55):
Seriously.

Crystal (02:08):
Mm-hmm. This is one of the most grievous myths that lead to accessibility not being considered when building technology. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.3 billion people experience significant disabilities. Given how pervasive the internet and tech use is around the globe, to say that disabled people don’t use the internet is beyond misguided. However, people with disabilities are less likely to go online or use a particular technology.

(02:40):
In the United States, one in four adults lives with a disability. According to a 2021 survey of US adults, by Pew Research 62% of respondents with a disability say they own a desktop or laptop computer, compared with 81% of those without a disability. 72% of people with a disability on a smartphone versus 88% of those without a disability.

(03:08):
This survey also states that older people are more likely than younger adults to report having a disability, which would also affect the results of the survey. Given the fear of stigma and reprisal, disability remains vastly under-reported in America. This means the population of disabled people who are online and use technology is undoubtedly more significant than currently assessed.

Ghost (03:36):
Myth number two: accessibility is expensive and hard to implement.

Crystal (03:45):
This myth exists because of how companies are first introduced to accessibility, reports of their products and applications being inaccessible after being released to consumers. Adding any feature improvements after a product has been released will incur additional costs and can be complicated to implement. Also, when companies chase expensive quick fixes that do not address fundamental issues of inaccessibility, they ultimately have to spend more time and money when those quick fixes fail. The fact is that accessible technology costs the same as developing inaccessible technology. When accessibility is at the forefront of design and development, it doesn’t require additional money, time or effort.

Ghost (04:34):
Myth number three: accessibility makes technology ugly.

Crystal (04:43):
This strongly correlates to the last myth. An existing design of the site or app probably won’t hold up well, when you retroactively add features and elements that weren’t planned, especially if a design team has little to no knowledge of accessible design. The components and styles that make a site or app accessible do not reside outside of current design trends and practices. Good design and accessibility are not mutually exclusive. It can be said that accessible design makes for better design, because when accessibility is intentional, usability design is not far behind.

Ghost (05:24):
Myth number four: accessibility is just for visual disabilities.

Crystal (05:34):
The internet can be a highly visual medium. So it’s not so strange to think that most of the work of making accessible for disabled people would be geared towards those who are blind and low vision. But vision is only part of how someone experiences digital technology. People with mobility, auditory, neurological, cognitive and psychological disabilities face significant technological barriers. Commonly, areas that affect one category disability affect others as well. Visual disabilities tend to be an accessible entry to learning about accessibility, still, it quickly becomes apparent how expansive the practice must be to address the needs of all disabled people.

Ghost (06:22):
Myth number five: accessibility only helps people with disabilities.

Speaker 3 (06:31):
Not this time.

Speaker 4 (06:32):
Wrong.

Speaker 3 (06:32):
Not this time.

Speaker 4 (06:33):
Not this time.

Speaker 3 (06:35):
You’re wrong. Not this time. It never happened.

Ghost (06:39):
Did you replace me?

Crystal (06:40):
It’s a meme.

Ghost (06:41):
What’s that?

Crystal (06:42):
This isn’t the time.

Ghost (06:44):
Fine. Just run me my check by the end of the month.

Crystal (06:47):
Run you your check. I don’t know who you think you’re talking to you. You know what? Whatever. Features like voice control and recognition, video captions and transcripts, auto-complete and dark mode were designed for people with disabilities, but have become widely adopted by those without disabilities. Accessible design and development have and continue to lead to innovations. So while accessibility mainly focuses on people with disabilities, it can and does benefit everyone.

Ghost (07:19):
Crystal is currently engaged so I will end this video for her. Now that these five accessibility myths have been dispelled. You have been handed the tools to continue to work. It’s up to you what you will do with them. Remember, the truth will set you free. If you enjoyed this video, hit the like button. If you wanna see more videos, hit the subscribe button. Make your choice. Hello, Crystal. I wanna play a game.


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