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2023 Digital Accessibility Index

Top barriers and roadblocks keeping disabled users from reaching their digital destination

Cars in a bird’s eye view driving down 3 intertwining roads. The roads sit on top of a grid of lines, that resemble a trending line chart.

For people with disabilities, navigating an inaccessible website can feel like driving down a bumpy, broken road. Getting from point A to point B should be easy, but accessibility issues (the potholes and closed roads of the digital world) can slow people down — or keep them from reaching their digital destination.


The need for a Digital Accessibility Index

David Moradi, CEO, AudioEye

I have a vision of a digital future where people with disabilities can easily accomplish any task online, from shopping to managing their health and finances.

Unfortunately, digital experiences today are often broken for the 1.3 billion people globally who live with a disability. And while many companies have some digital accessibility efforts in place, they tend to be insufficient — which is one reason just 3% of the web is accessible for people with disabilities.

We wanted to identify where some of the world’s leading brands fall short on accessibility, so we created the first Digital Accessibility Index. It combines data-backed findings from our scan of nearly 40,000 enterprise websites with additional insights from manual audits of the top sites in key industries like retail, media, and travel.

The results were staggering. Across the 2 million pages scanned, we found an average of 37 accessibility errors per page. These errors ranged in severity, from issues that can force people with disabilities to spend extra time accomplishing a task to complete blockers that have no workaround — and often result in lost customers and revenue.

After reviewing the entire data set, our team identified three areas that are especially problematic for people with disabilities: image accessibility, link accessibility, and form accessibility.

  • 56%

    of images are not accessible to people with visual impairments, which can prevent them from being able to understand or benefit from any information conveyed by the image.

  • 64%

    of pages have links that are not clear to people with some visual and cognitive impairments, which can make it difficult for them to navigate between pages or find the information they need.

  • 25%

    of forms are missing clear labels, which can make it difficult for people with disabilities to know what to enter into each field — impacting key tasks like checkout or account creation.

And because not every issue can be found with technology alone, we also had our team of certified accessibility experts (including members of the disability community) audit the top sites in several industries, focusing on key site objectives like checkout pages for retail sites or customer portals for financial services sites. Here is a sampling of the significant barriers our testers found:

  • Retail

    On checkout pages, non-sighted users did not receive any audible announcement that a form was missing required information — which can leave them unaware that a form submission was unsuccessful.

  • Financial Services

    Keyboard accessibility issues made it hard for screen readers to navigate around pop-up windows (such as promotional offers) or access information about account policies and perks.

  • Travel

    Our testers encountered a number of accessibility issues that made it difficult to even look up flight times or prices, forcing them to visit other sites where they could start the process of booking travel.

  • Media

    Frame titles help users with a screen reader quickly determine what information is on a page, and whether they want to keep reading. Yet, nearly 62% of pages on media sites have missing frame titles — 20% higher than the overall average.

  • Insurance

    Our testers encountered a number of issues that made it difficult to access pricing information, search for agents, or update their account information via customer portals.

  • Government

    63% of government pages had at least one interactive element that could not be triggered by a keyboard, such as closing pop-up windows or pressing ‘submit’ buttons — all of which would stop a user in their tracks.

While these issues can feel dire, I’m filled with optimism. More and more companies are prioritizing digital accessibility, recognizing both the moral imperative to make the web accessible to all as well as the impact accessibility has on the overall user experience, customer loyalty, and revenue. I share the sentiment of a member of our disability community, who said:

“I think the future of digital accessibility is finally starting to look more hopeful. The industry is finally waking up to the fact that disabled users need to be included in the process for it to really work.”

Please enjoy the inaugural Digital Accessibility Index. We’ve included many more data-backed insights, learnings, and best practices that will help your teams evaluate the accessibility of your website and take steps to ensure all your website visitors can accomplish their purpose in visiting your site — and reach their digital destination.

David Moradi

CEO, AudioEye

Next: Key Insights