Stepping up for Web Accessibility - a Work in Progress
As web development professionals making use of a medium that was meant to be universal from its invention - the world wide web - we have a responsibility for the experiences we create. We are pleased to see the growing emphasis on web accessibility in our industry over time. At Amazee Labs we want to be drivers of this positive trend and step up for web accessibility - a work in progress.
According to the WHO 16% of the world’s population, an estimated 1.3 billion people, experience significant disability. This makes 1 in 6 of us. Putting aside other aspects of the digital divide throughout the world, persons with disabilities face additional barriers in the access and usage of technology - a negative impact for a group of individuals who would benefit greatly from seamless access to technology. Digital accessibility - which includes web accessibility - is an absolute must if the benefits of digitalisation are to be available to all.
Even though the current state of web accessibility leaves room for improvement, it’s often noted that the reason is not stakeholders of web projects setting out with the aim to create inaccessible experiences. If stakeholders are acquainted with web accessibility, the general attitude towards it is usually overly positive, and without the constraints of reality - more about this later - accessibility would be placed with great swiftness in the list of “must-have” requirements. Innate knowledge of accessibility and recognition of its relevance however, is not a given in the industry. This - in our experience - does not stem from malicious intent, but from a lack of information. Getting to know the relevance and the consequences of neglecting web accessibility is usually an eye-opening realisation. The curiosity we have seen expressed in those moments of recognition makes us hopeful for the potential impact of raising awareness about web accessibility.
The Constraints of Reality for Web Accessibility
Implementing web accessibility requires commitment and resources, and this is where the constraints of reality kick in. Budgetary constraints are a hard truth when it comes to web accessibility and for the time being our experience shows that it is not a widespread phenomenon to have a dedicated budget, let alone a strong commitment to accessibility. Again, in our experience, this is not due to bad intent, but other factors such as lack of information, a loose legal landscape and widespread low prioritisation of a crucially important issue.
Establishing the relevance of web accessibility in the eyes of decision makers is essential. In these discussions, its relevance and feasibility would often be questioned, with arguments such as the target audience of the product in question not including any persons with disabilities and other common myths around web accessibility. Our experience shows that constructive discussions can arise from countering these concerns. It usually flows in the direction of pointing out that by implementing web accessibility:
- legal risk is reduced - thanks to the European Accessibility Act as of 2025 also relevant for some of the private sector
- brand identity is strengthened
- the market opens up to a larger audience
- customer experience for all users is improved
- and rewards can be reaped of other benefits - e.g. improved SEO
Web accessibility is a complex topic and not one that can be achieved without explicit commitment and dedicated resources. We recommend taking accessibility aspirations one step at a time and starting with the essentials: any progress is a step in the right direction.
Taking Action for Web Accessibility
As service providers, we want to step up. What can we do to be drivers for a positive change in web accessibility?
We see a huge potential in the impact of raising awareness of accessibility within the industry, which is why we committed to offering free demo audits as conversation starters about accessibility. Seeing concrete examples of accessibility issues and their negative impact on one’s own website is - in our experience - the most effective eye-opener.
In the area of web development, accessibility is a key aspect in our decision-making process when selecting components for our component library. Even if accessibility is not an explicit part of the requirements, we strive to use semantic HTML, using native HTML elements for their correct purpose, whenever possible, thereby making use of built-in accessibility features. This often includes opening up design discussions, if a design dictates rules incompatible with this approach. Furthermore, automatic tooling is in use to support accessibility.
Integrating accessibility in our culture, processes and development workflows is a work in progress, one we are committed to and are improving every day. Contact us to join in the effort of accommodating all users on the web, for a better and brighter digital future!