Merriam-Webster defines Accessibility as easily used or accessed by people with disabilities or adapted for use by people with disabilities
Accessibility is the word used to describe whether a product (for example, a document, a website, mobile site, digital TV interface or application) can be used by people of all abilities and disabilities. Another term for this is universal design.
The concept of universal design is a simple one, but the execution can be tricky. Designers of documents and websites must be thinking about their ENTIRE audience during the creation process. For instance, if I want to put a website link in my document, a screen reading device would read each letter one at a time. H T T P S : / /…. So as a creator, I want to use the Insert Link option and hide that ugly URL behind the scenes and use a readable phrase in the actual document or website. That’s just one of the many problems that can crop up with assisted technology devices.
Why should I bother? Well, it is actually the law. Read about Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and other laws connected to Americans with Disabilities. Laws have been on the books for years and recently updated. Public universities and colleges, government agencies and celebrities are now being targeted with lawsuits because of inaccessible content. If business owners aren’t tuned in, they will be next.
For example, Domino’s Pizza is embroiled in a lawsuit because a blind man couldn’t order pizza from the website or mobile app. Beyonce is being sued because photos on her website don’t provide alternative text. Read about more lawsuits here. A quick google search of 508 compliance will bring up dozens of recent articles.