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Level Access releases 5th Annual State of Digital Accessibility Report

Report reveals broadest insight yet on how the general U.S. market is approaching digital accessibility
Level Access

Level Access, the leading enterprise digital accessibility platform, in collaboration with the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) and the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), released its Fifth Annual State of Digital Accessibility Report today. This year’s expanded study reveals that making digital experiences accessible for people with disabilities is a mainstream priority for enterprise organizations, and it provides new insight into the challenges preventing progress for many organizations. Challenges include internal misalignment between executive leadership and practitioners, and confusion about compliance obligations.

“Organizations today understand that digital accessibility isn’t just a moral imperative and a compliance requirement–it’s a business best practice. The majority of enterprise organizations are implementing digital accessibility policies and report business improvements as a result,” said Tim Springer, Founder and CEO of Level Access. “However, our data reveals there are gaps between organizations’ intentions and what we know to be effective execution.”

Level Access expanded this year’s State of Digital Accessibility survey to include not only accessibility practitioners and managers—those actively invested in the day-to-day work—but also executive leaders at enterprise organizations.

Key findings in the report reflect a trend of rapid transformation toward accessibility, coupled with confusion over requirements and implementation:

  1. Widespread adoption: More than 70% of respondents’ organizations have implemented digital accessibility policies, recognizing accessibility as crucial for enhancing user experience, customer satisfaction, and brand reputation.
  2. Confidence versus reality: While 83% of respondents express confidence in the accessibility of their organization’s primary digital experience (such as their website), 40% report facing legal action in the past 12 months. This points to a misalignment between professionals’ perceptions of online accessibility and the reality of compliance requirements under accessibility laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  3. Leadership and practitioner disconnect: Senior leaders and practitioners have noticeably different perceptions of the state of digital accessibility at their organizations, with leaders often more confident and less aware of resource gaps. Almost half (45%) of senior leaders believe their digital accessibility practices are “highly developed,” versus less than a quarter of practitioners (23%).
  4. Barriers to progress: Three-quarters of respondents report their organizations want to improve digital accessibility but have too many competing demands, and 69% say they lack adequate time to address accessibility issues.
  5. Impact of proactivity: Successful digital accessibility initiatives are marked by a proactive approach. Incorporating accessibility when designing (56%) and testing during development (52%) were identified as the most impactful actions respondents’ organizations have taken to improve digital accessibility.

“This year’s insights reveal more than we’ve ever known about what’s contributing to successful digital accessibility programs, how organizations are thinking, and where they’re stalled,” Springer adds. “This deeper level of understanding validates our approach of supporting organizations with advanced, integrated solutions for building inclusive digital experiences.”

“In a world increasingly driven by digital interaction, creating digital experiences that work for all users is critical to organizational success,” said Christopher M. Lee, PHD, VP and Managing Director of G3ict and IAAP. “We hope our research inspires and empowers businesses of all sizes to prioritize digital equity and inclusion as a key business objective in 2024.”

Request the Fifth Annual State of Digital Accessibility Report.

For additional insight from Tim Springer about this year’s report, request our on-demand webinar—The State of Digital Accessibility: 2023 Insights and Action Items for 2024.

Research methodology:

Level Access commissioned independent market research specialist Vanson Bourne to undertake the quantitative research upon which the Fifth Annual State of Digital Accessibility Report is based. A total of 1,033 business decision-makers and technical / product specialists from the U.S. were surveyed during July and August of 2023. Respondents worked at organizations of varied sizes and across industries. All professionals surveyed had some involvement in digital experience creation at their organizations, whether in a tactical or strategic capacity. Vanson Bourne conducted surveys online using a rigorous multi-level screening process to ensure that only suitable candidates were given the opportunity to participate.

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