57% of users will benefit from assistive technologies

As a followup to my post 25% of all web users are disabled, I saw that Microsoft commissioned Forrester to make research about accessibility and assistive technologies.

They found that 57% are likely to benefit from assistive technologies.

The goals of this study were to identify the range of physical and cognitive abilities among working-age adults and current computer users in the United States, the types of difficulties and impairments that limit the scope of activities and their degree of severity, and the number of people who could potentially benefit from using accessible technology. This information, coupled with aging population trends, can help to explain the aging population’s impact on computer use and need for accessible technology.

Suddenly the 25% claim in the earlier post (from Danish Center of accessibility) seems very conservative, although the definition here is very different. However, I think web developers can benefit from this.

If 57% of web users can benefit from assistive problems, then it’s because web pages (and browsers, screens, etc) are not optimal. We as web developers can do more to support these 57% percent. Here are the obvious ones for me.

  • Support webstandards: Valid HTML
  • WAI/WCAG accessibility
  • Avoid small text (although still widely used on major Danish websites like DR, TV2, Krak, Jubii, etc.)

Somewhat related thoughts:

By the way, I am using the term “assistive technology”, this research report consistently uses “accessible technology”. Which one is the most correct?
On Google, “accessible technology” occurs 190,000 times, “assistive technology” occurs 24.8 million times. Wikipedia has no article on accessible technology, but one on assistive technology.

Oddly enough, the first item in Google search for “assistive technology”, Assistive Technology, Inc. fails completely in the accessibility test. It has images without alt-tags, missing label elements, deprecated elements and more.

Kind of ironic that they’re number one on that search term. Hey, Google, here’s room for improvement of the PageRank algorithm.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.