The State of Digital Accessibility: Three Key Challenges

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Illustration of the web accessibility icon, the outline of a person, in purple on a white circle against a blue background.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published its first web accessibility guidance[1] in 10 years. It was meant to remind businesses of all sizes that their websites — just like physical storefronts — need to be accessible to people with disabilities. 

The DOJ guidance comes at a time when the majority of US businesses are getting swept up in accelerated digital transformation[2] and a struggle to make their websites accessible[3] to people of all abilities. 

According to WebAIM’s most recent accessibility analysis[4] of the top one million homepages, 97% of websites have accessibility errors — such as low contrast text and missing written descriptions of images — failing to meet some of the basic Website Content Accessibility Guidelines[5] (WCAG), a de facto international standard. This is a slight improvement from 2020, when 98% of homepages were inaccessible. 

With only 3% of the Internet accessible, we have an urgent problem on a big scale. 

There are a number of reasons why, despite the growing awareness of digital accessibility, expectations of inclusivity, and renewed efforts by the government, we are still lagging behind. 

Among those reasons are the following three challenges that reflect that state of digital accessibility today. 

Three key challenges in digital accessibility 

1. The lack of clarity on legal requirements 

Illustration of a hand bringing down a purple gavel onto the web accessibility icon.

The Americans with Disabilities Act[6] (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability, and other laws governing accessibility in the United States were written before the Internet became an integral part of our lives. Today, the Justice Department and courts across the country decide on digital

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