Why make content accessible?

Making content accessible has many benefits for both users and content creators.

From a social perspective:

  • everyone has access to content regardless of situation, location or ability, providing more educational and employment opportunities across the community

  • the overall community benefits when everyone has access to the information that helps them to participate and contribute economically, socially and culturally

  • agencies (eg disability support groups) do not need to divert resources from other projects to convert publications into accessible formats.

From a business perspective:

  • content creators can reach significant untapped or underserviced audiences, including

    • people in rural and regional areas
    • people with permanent or temporary disability
    • people with language issues, such as low literacy or English as a second language
  • only information and communications technology products that comply with specified accessibility criteria can be used by (and sold to) public libraries, educational institutions and other bodies.

From a legal perspective:

  • in Australia, government and academic institutions are required to adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – as part of the Digital Service Standard, Australian Government agencies must meet WCAG 2.0 level AA and are strongly encouraged to meet WCAG 2.1 level AA

  • the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 requires businesses to provide equal access to products and services for all customers; this includes information in web resources on Australian servers

  • Australia has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which states that people with disabilities should have access to information and communications technologies, including the internet.

Did you know? People aged over 65 made up 16% of the Australian population in 2019. Older Australians may represent a large part of your audience, so remember that some of them may have challenges in accessing the internet. This is because they may have declining:

  • vision, including reduced near perception, colour perception and contrast sensitivity

  • physical capacity, including reduced dexterity and motor control, making it difficult to select small targets

  • hearing, including difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds and separating sounds (eg separating voice-overs from background music)

  • cognitive capacity, including reduced short-term memory, and difficulty following navigation and completing online tasks.

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