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Upcoming Trends in Digital Accessibility

Digital accessibility has been the talk of the town for quite a while now, but the gravity at which it needs to be looked at, is still a work-in-progress. As it becomes the need of the hour, the industry is also witnessing an array of trends that are underway for furthering digital accessibility and accessibility testing services.

Accessibility Trends in the Upcoming Future

As the era of digital accessibility brings forth some anticipated trends such as the new WCAG guidelines, etc., it also paves the way for the industry to realize the significance of digital accessibility and the need to truly incorporate it within a product from the very early stages to its reception from the users – from accessibility development, testing to remediation. To elaborate upon a few trends –

  • Inclusion of AI and ML – No longer is digital accessibility confined to the age-old practices which make accessibility a siloed effort – or even an afterthought. With the advent of new technologies such as AI and ML, digital accessibility has witnessed a promising change in terms of the increase in AI-based accessible applications which use speech, image or facial recognition and much more. Real-time captioning is another area wherein AI and ML have been catalytic in making applications accessible.
  • WCAG 2.2 – Albeit, accessibility laws, such Americans with Disabilities Act or Section 508 do not put any core emphasis on digital accessibility per se, digital accessibility has still managed to seamlessly crystallize its importance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The upcoming and latest guidelines, WCAG 2.2, would become pivotal in bringing in 9 additional success criteria – Accessible Authentication, Hidden Controls, Dragging, Findable Help, Focus Appearance (Minimum and Enhanced), Point Target Spacing, Redundant Entry and Fixed Reference Points. Thus, WCAG 2.2 has quite promising and enhanced nuances which would help make the existence of digital accessibility even stronger. Accessibility testing services and even WCAG compliance testing become crucial efforts to conduct.
  • Accessibility in gaming – This aspect has become a growing trend as online gaming incorporates digital accessibility – users with motor, visual or hearing impairments have increasingly been able to use gaming applications with the given assistive technologies (ATs) and accessibility tools. Thus, the gaming industry has been witnessing a change in the user-base with more disabled users being able to access online games.

There are other trends too, which are anticipated to bring in more digital accessibility and inclusion. With new technologies and innovations coming in the market, accessibility will also see a new light.

But in the quest of doing so, accessibility should be looked at comprehensively. This essentially points towards the need to incorporate accessibility at every stage in the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). From the very inception and development of a product, accessibility should be considered a core component. During the whole process as well, accessibility testing services need to be availed and it needs to be a regular and coherent effort to ensure that any and all possible accessibility bottlenecks are identified and eliminated immediately. Post release as well, accessibility remediation is a helpful effort to rectify any anomalies that still persist for differently-abled users.

Thus, digital accessibility has surely come a long way, but a longer way is still in the works. With the upcoming trends and changes that are anticipated, digital inclusion can actually become a dream which comes true. From AI and ML to truly accessible applications, digital accessibility presents a promising future and greater inclusion in the coming years.