This post features web accessibility predictions from our two in-house accessibility experts, Lars Holm Sørensen and Eva Bergara. Lars has been a user of various magnification tools and screen readers for 20+ years and has 10+ years of WCAG/Accessibility consulting experience. Combined with his background in computer science, it allows him to proactively find and solve digital accessibility issues. Lars was born with vision impairment, and is extremely passionate about making the world a more accessible place. Eva has a masters in liberal arts from Houston, Christian University, and a bachelors of special education from Texas Southern University. As an educator, Eva has been working with adults and children who have disabilities for the last 20 years. Through her teaching experience, Eva has used assistive technologies in quite a few different ways - from low to high tech. As each individual student has a unique situation, this means that Eva has experimented with many different types of assistive technology throughout the years. Eva has also worked as a disability rights advocate for various nonprofits. Feel free to connect with them for more website accessibility tips and tricks!
A common truism that most certainly rings true in the world of online accessibility is that the only real constant is change.
While this makes it notoriously difficult for even expert commentators to foresee just how things will go in the area of web accessibility, there are a few exceptions that can be predicted with some confidence when thinking about the year ahead.
The Current Web Accessibility Landscape
Accessibility as a profession is unquestionably becoming more mature. But what does this really mean, and why is this the case? Well, fundamentally it boils down to the fact that today there are a far greater number of high-quality tools and consulting services available to organizations that want to pursue excellence not only in websites, but digital accessibility in general.
With global accessibility legislation continuing to grow and expand, the pressure for online organizations to meet with relevant standards is at an all time high and only growing. In the EU, for example, 2023 will be sure to see an increased demand for accessibility help, professionals, tools as companies begin to realize what is coming up with the European Accessibility Act's (EAA) requirements. This is something that is also echoed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) who, in addition to the impending final release of WCAG 2.2 in early 2023 - are already working on WCAG 3.0 to keep up to date with user requirements and set better accessibility standards for existing and future technologies.
With all this in mind, we asked our two in-house accessibility experts here at Monsido powered by CivicPlus to share their top accessibility predictions for 2023. Let’s take a look at their top 6 web accessibility predictions for 2023.
Lars and Eva’s 2023 Accessibility Predictions
2023 Accessibility Prediction #1: Accessibility will become a significant competition factor for private companies.
As the market for accessibility tools and services continues to grow, it is only natural that we can expect to see an increase in competition between major organizations to demonstrate their dedication to achieving excellence in accessibility. Beyond that, there is increased legal pressure for private companies to comply with continued web accessibility lawsuits in the US, and the impending EAA in Europe.
2023 Accessibility Prediction #2: Inclusion as a subject will generally become more popular.
In the past few years, we've seen Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) become more important for organizations on a number of different levels. One result of this trend is that accessibility is now increasingly being addressed from day one, rather than as an afterthought.
With accessibility and online inclusion becoming generally more prevalent, we also expect to see the subjects being leveraged as key selling points and sources of organizational pride in 2023.
2023 Accessibility Prediction #3: Accessibility features will show up in more and more places.
As organizations increasingly see the benefits of being accessible for both customers and employees, we can expect to see a corresponding rise in the use of accessibility software and services.
Accessibility features are already becoming more common in an increasingly diverse set of locations and circumstances entirely outside of the realm of websites and online apps. Examples of this accessibility features trend include games with color blind modes, text-to-speech features in VR games, audio instructions in self-service kiosks, and ATM’s with high-contrast keypad and screen text. This tendency looks set to run and run, as the demand for universal accessibility features only continues to expand.
"Just before new year I met with an old friend of mine, who holds a leading role in the computer game industry. He told me how they are now hiring Accessibility Champions into their AAA game development teams to ensure more accessible gaming experiences." Lars
2023 Accessibility Prediction #4: Accessibility tools will include more AI based technology.
AI can be extremely useful in improving web accessibility. As more and more website tools are developed that leverage AI, this will effectively mean that more accessibility checks which used to require manual inspection will be increasingly performed by machine.
This may at first sound like a win-win for all concerned, but there are significant dangers to becoming overly reliant on automated technology which need to be kept in mind. While many accessibility tasks can now be automated safely, there are still limitations to what can be achieved by such technologies. This ultimately means that a human touch is still required to ensure a comprehensive accessibility strategy.
2023 Accessibility Prediction #5: Cyber security will need to be made accessible
With an increased focus on cyber security and the implementation of methods such as two-factor authentication and recaptcha verification across the web, the accessibility of these solutions will need to be continuously considered. The growing use of accessibility tools and services in itself necessitates that online organizations pay more attention to cyber security. This will mean taking a closer look at two factor authentication and reCaptcha verification for accessing information, for a start.
So, if we want to make the web accessible and safe for everyone, companies in 2023 will need to collaborate with each other and agree upon more inclusive design standards that encompass cyber security concerns.
2023 Accessibility Prediction #6: Increased usage of retro art and animation.
In the coming year, we also anticipate an increase in the number of websites that incorporate the use of retro art and animation into their design and content. As these elements can pose their own unique challenges, it is important that organizations who choose to use such retro art and animated Gifs take steps to ensure that they are accessible for all their potential website visitors.
If not properly applied, retro art design elements can interfere with both your website’s usability and accessibility. Retro art web design essentially refers to the use of colors, fonts, imagery, layouts, and typographies that have been purposefully chosen to evoke feel-good vibes from a bygone era.
While these elements can often be striking and visually appealing, they may not conform to modern accessibility standards. For this reason, retro art and animation should always be used with care.
Whatever happens in the area of web accessibility in 2023, one thing is for certain, it won’t be dull.
As laws continue to develop and social awareness around the subject of digital accessibility evolves, we should hopefully start to see organizations providing disabled users with a more inclusive experience that accurately reflects their needs and recognizes them as equal members of society - both off and online.
Want to see how your website stacks up for accessibility in 2022? Book a demo to see how Monsido can help you achieve your website accessibility goals and stay compliant in 2023.