According to the World Health Organization’s World Report on Disability, about 15 per cent of the world’s population is disabled.
That means more than a billion people have to deal with some kind of disability.
But despite this demographic being so large, many companies are just beginning to make accessibility a priority.
Some businesses are doing it solely because its their legal obligation, some believe it’s a moral imperative, and others will just look at it as a shrewd business decision.
Whether it’s avoiding fines and lawsuits, improving your reputation, or gaining new customers, companies that accommodate disabled people stand to reap many benefits.
And over the last few years, several tech companies have been promoting technologies that will help the disabled, especially when it comes to web accessibility standards.
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To be fair, even though many companies have been dragging their asses on this, accessing the web has never been easier for the disabled.
No doubt, part of the reason for this is the legislation compelling companies to implement web accessibility standards.
But what’s even more significant is that businesses are finally realizing all the benefits of making their products and services more accessible.
Here are some of the tech giants that are helping to make accessing the web easier for people with disabilities.
Back in 2011, the Facebook Accessibility Team was formed, with the goal of making Facebook more accessible to people with disabilities.
Since then, Facebook has rolled out numerous improvements to the accessibility of its platform, including:
Google’s accessibility team was launched in 2013 to oversee employee training and user research related to disabilities and ensure all its products are accessible.
Today, all of Google’s products undergo a standardized accessibility test, just as they would for things like privacy and security.
Here are some of the things Google’s been doing to make things more accessible for disabled people:
Instagram hasn’t put a huge focus on accessibility, but it’s announced some new features to make its website more accessible for the visually-impaired.
In a recent blog post from Instagram, the social media giant referred to these features as “first steps toward creating a more accessible Instagram.”
The two changes include a feature that uses object recognition technology to generate descriptions of photos, and an option for users to make custom descriptions of their photos.
Both improvements allow the visually-impaired to understand what’s contained in Instagram photos by providing descriptions that they can hear using a screen reader.
Microsoft prides itself on being an innovator of accessibility technologies.
The tech mammoth’s AI for Accessibility program is committing $25 million over the next five years to help disabled people around the world.
In addition to this program, here are some other things Microsoft has been doing to improve accessibility for the disabled:
Since 2013, Twitter has been putting a focus on improving the accessibility of its platform.
It even has a dedicated accessibility team, with its own Twitter Accessibility account, which posts about accessibility updates and encourages users to provide feedback.
Here are some of the web accessibility features offered by Twitter:
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