Accessibility refers to the ability of people with disabilities to have access to and benefit from an entity or system. Digital Accessibility refers to the ability of users with disabilities to effectively utilize information technology (IT) systems including web sites, mobile or web based applications, software and hardware. Digital Accessibility is generally concerned with ensuring that IT systems are designed in such a way that they interact appropriately with assistive technologies. Extensive accessibility legislation is present in most of the major domestic markets including the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia and Japan. Generally, the relevant portions of accessibility legislation require that organizations make best efforts in order to ensure that physical and electronic business areas can be used by individuals with disabilities.
Demographic trends throughout first world countries indicate that the citizens with disabilities, as part of the overall population, will grow over the next fifty years. This is generally interpreted as a sign that current disability legislation will be expanded or more aggressively enforced in the future.
A disability is any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions).
Most people with severe disabilities use assistive technology in conjunction with core operating system functions to access information in digital systems. Assistive technology commonly refers to products, devices or equipment, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that are used to maintain, increase or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
Web Accessibility Perspectives
There are many examples in society of innovations that were originally intended for people with disabilities but that have provided access benefits to all people (curb cuts and automatic door openers are two of the most common). Accessible web content is a similar innovation.