On Friday, March 18th, the United States Department of Justice issued web accessibility guidance, again making it abundantly clear that the accessibility provisions of the ADA apply to websites, apps and other digital content. For years people have argued that these are not physical spaces and therefore, the ADA does not apply. Not true.
Since passage of the ADA, there has been progress in reducing physical accessibility barriers, however web accessibility has lagged far behind. The internet as we know it today didn’t exist when the ADA was passed in 1990, nor did anyone anticipate that technology would become pervasive – literally intertwined in every aspect of our lives, making web accessibility critical.
Under a bright light.
As the Justice Department points out, barriers continue to exist with remote learning, access to pandemic information, online grocery shopping, and tax preparation to name a few. None of this is new, yet the experiences of the last two years have shined a bright light on this gap. It’s time for organizations to level up.
Ready to assist.
We applaud the step forward signaled by the March 18th announcement, however, at the same time, we are compelled to remind ourselves that web accessibility is complex, it requires informed technical skill and long-term commitment.
Aira’s mission is to make the world more accessible, including the digital world. While we’re eager for a time when all web sites, apps and digital content are natively accessible, we know getting there is a journey that will take time.
Many of the calls we receive today are for assistance with ‘digital tasks’, addressing inaccessible web content being top among them. Digitization of the ways we work, shop, learn and enjoy entertainment, will continue to accelerate as will calls for assistance as long as the barriers exist.
Aira. A tool in your tool kit.
Aira’s visual interpreting is a service in which a trained, professional Agent describes, reads or explains what is inaccessible for your customer. Customers can include constituents, employees, guests, patrons, students or visitors who are blind or have low vision. Aira is an on-demand, easy to use solution to get beyond the barriers.
As organizations implement accessibility strategies to make their digital content accessible, Aira can be a tool in your accessibility tool kit. Initially it can be used to overcome accessibility hurdles, and longer term, it can be part of your overall accessibility strategy. Aira is assistive technology that can bridge the divide.
If you would like to learn more about how to utilize Aira as part of your overall accessibility strategy, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d be happy to talk with you.