The need for digital arises with all digital technology that people interact with, including websites, mobile apps, software, audio and video files, documents, and authoring tools. The content and delivery mechanism for these assets can create barriers for people with disabilities if they are not accessible.
The objective of creating an accessible product is to provide an equivalent user experience for everyone. The principle behind is that by providing accessible content for people who face barriers, you are also creating a better experience for everyone. In other words, creating accessible solutions needed by some will benefit many. Improving accessibility involves identifying barriers that prevent people with disabilities from accessing content and services. Improving digital accessibility reduces barriers and provides equitable access to digital content for persons with disabilities and people who use (AT).
Planning for Digital Accessibility
It is crucial to consider accessibility before you create new content or procure a new technology. Good accessibility does not happen by accident. Making intentional, inclusive decisions during the planning stages will not only benefit your end users; it will also reduce effort, long-term costs, and litigation risk.
Procuring Accessible Digital Technology
Third-party software, digital solutions, or development can create barriers if they are not accessible. Including consistent and clear accessibility requirements during the procurement process will reduce risk for you and remove barriers for your end users. See the procurement section for more guidance.
Software and Website Development
Accessibility is essential throughout the development process, from the level to the overall system design. Planning for accessibility will ensure consistency at the system level, both within and between pages. Using proper landmarks and consistent navigation at the outset will make it easier to design and develop an accessible application.
Digital accessibility does not stop at the planning stage, as with other design criteria. Incorporate testing to ensure that you meet targets before launch. See Testing for more information.
You can get more information and resources on digital accessibility through these pages and the following sources:
- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provides many strategies and recommendations that will help you to create robust and accessible experiences on the web, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is an excellent resource
- The Government of Canada has a series of resources on creating digital documents, including in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio and PDF.
More resources are available on our full Resource List.
The design of products, devices, services, environments, technologies, policies and rules in a way that allows all people, including people with a variety of disabilities, to access them.
Design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference.
Specialized hardware or software that can assist people with disabilities to perceive and interact with digital content.
An identifiable part of a larger program or construction.