Why Should We Care About IT Accessibility?

  • It’s the Right Thing to Do. Aside from being a legal requirement for Federal agencies, it’s the right thing to do for those with disabilities. Accessible technology eliminates barriers for people with disabilities, promotes a positive public image and facilitates public access to Federal information.
  • Disabilities Affect People We all Know. Disabilities can affect our grandparents, parents, children, colleagues, siblings, friends, neighbors. Accessibility is all about inclusion.
  • Disabled People are Big Users of Technology. It offers many disabled people opportunities that are otherwise unavailable, including independence and freedom. For some people, technology is their only means to communicate with others and to obtain important information and news. If a web site is not created with web accessibility in mind, it may exclude a segment of the population that stands to gain the most from the internet.
  • The Population is Increasing. That means that there are more individuals with sensory and other disabilities. The average age of the population in the U.S. and many other countries is increasing as well. Aging sometimes brings about accessibility issues, such as hearing changes and changes in dexterity (movement) and memory, that can be helped through accessible technology.
  • Accessible Technology Can Help Everyone. Well described illustrations, organized content and clear navigations -- that are geared for people with disabilities -- can make everyone’s website experience better. Also, captions that are needed for deaf or hearing impaired users are useful to viewers without audio.

Approximately 56.7 million people (18.7%) of the 303.9 million in the civilian non-institutionalized population had a disability in 2010.

Specific Measures of Disability for Adults
(aged 15 and older)
(in millions)
  Persons with vision difficulties 8.1 3.30
  including Blind or unable to see 2  
  Persons with hearing difficulties 7.6 3.10
  including those with a severe hearing difficulty 1.1  
  Persons with speech difficulties 2.8 1.20
  Persons who have difficulty with physical tasks         related to upper body functioning 19.9 8.20
  Persons who experience difficulty with some kind     of cognitive, mental, or emotional functioning 15.2 6.30

Source: US Census Bureau - Americans With Disabilities: 2010