Web Accessibility Stats and Data 2024

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Web Accessibility Stats and Data 2024

Posted February 14, 2024


Posted February 14, 2024

Red accessibility symbol next to two stylized icons.
Red accessibility symbol next to two stylized icons.

With the global population of individuals with disabilities growing, organizations have increased focus on creating accessible, inclusive websites. In this article, we take a look at the latest accessibility statistics and data to see how well these efforts are working.

Before the digital era, accessibility was focused on providing equal access to public places by installing ramps and elevators and adding Braille to public signage. In the last few decades, that focus has shifted to online spaces and ensuring they’re accessible to all users — regardless of their ability. 

This shift in focus is primarily due to the growing population of the disabled community which now totals 1.3 billion of the global population. In the U.S. alone, 61 million adults live with some type of disability, according to the CDC.

Yet, despite the growing population, a large portion of digital platforms (both desktop and mobile) remain inaccessible to individuals with disabilities. To determine just how much of the web is accessible, AudioEye conducted a scan of nearly 40,000 enterprise websites — roughly two million web pages — across industries such as retail, media, and travel.

What we found is that just 3% of the web is considered accessible — 3%. This means that the majority of the web is inaccessible to the disabled community, which isn’t just problematic for individuals with disabilities, but for businesses as well. 

So what is preventing the disabled community from having full access to the web? And what can organizations do to increase accessibility? Using the results from our scan of thousands of websites, we’ll review some of the top web accessibility statistics and what these numbers mean for both the disabled community and your business.

9 Accessibility Statistics You Should Know in 2024

Here’s what we uncovered in our scan of two million web pages: each one had at least one accessibility error. The average page had 37 unique elements (such as images or links) that failed one of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) success criteria, which is considered the international standard for web accessibility conformance.

While each page has a unique range of issues, we were able to categorize these errors into three buckets: images, links, and forms. Below, we’ll delve into the statistics of each category, including how common these accessibility issues are across web pages and how they affect the experience of people with disabilities.

Image Accessibility Statistics

Here’s what our report found about the accessibility of images:

  • 56% of images aren’t accessible to people with visual impairments
  • 93% of domains have at least one page with an inaccessible image
  • 60% of images had no alternative text (alt text)

What these numbers show is the majority of images on a web or mobile device are not accessible to individuals. Without appropriate color contrast and alt text, users with both moderate and severe vision impairments (such as color blindness, low vision, cataracts, or blindness) cannot visualize the image. This may leave out critical context and negatively detract from the user experience.

Link Accessibility Statistics

Links serve numerous purposes on a site (i.e. establishing credibility, giving source credit, encouraging users to learn more, etc.). However, our research found that sites are failing to make links accessible to a number of people with disabilities. We found:

  • 64% of pages have links that aren’t clear to people with disabilities
  • 90% of sites had at least one page with an inaccessible link
  • About 5 links on every page weren’t clear to users

Inaccessible links interrupt the user’s experience. Without understanding why a link is on a page and where it’s going to take someone before they click on it, disabled users are less likely to click on it.

Form Accessibility Statistics

When thinking about accessibility, forms and other interactive elements are often pushed to the backburner. However, these elements play a key part in creating an accessible website. According to our research:

  • 1 in 4 forms are missing descriptive labels for people with disabilities
  • 81% of domains tested had at least one page with functionality issues
  • 56% of pages had at least one functionality issue

Inaccessible forms severely complicate the experience for individuals with disabilities. Most users run into errors when submitting information and are not given clear instructions on how to fix them. This leaves users with two options: abandon the attempt and search for a more accessible form or recruit the help of someone else — neither of which are an ideal experience.

Four silhouettes of people with one highlighted over text '1-in-4 of people in the U.S. live with some type of disability'.

Why is Accessibility so Important?

Website accessibility is beneficial for everyone. It ensures that all individuals, regardless of their abilities, can access and consume digital content. It goes beyond mere convenience as well — it’s a matter of equal opportunity, inclusion, and legal compliance.

One of the biggest reasons website accessibility is so important is due to the growing population of people with disabilities. One in four people in the U.S. live with some type of disability, which leaves a significant portion of people unable to access websites due to a lack of accessibility. Creating an accessible website provides these individuals with equal access to the digital world.

Aside from being the right thing to do, website accessibility is also a legal requirement. The U.S. government has a number of laws around accessibility, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and WCAG accessibility standards. Organizations who fail to meet WCAG 2.2 Level AA requirements are not providing an accessible, ADA-compliant website. Non-compliance can result in potential legal action, including accessibility lawsuits and demand letters that can be time-consuming, expensive, and damaging to your reputation.

More importantly, website accessibility opens the door to an often overlooked market. For businesses, this can lead to more revenue and increased growth which results in more customer engagement, satisfaction, and brand loyalty. By designing with accessibility in mind, organizations create a cleaner, simpler layout— all of which creates a more inclusive, user-friendly experience.

8 Tips to Improve Web Accessibility

With website accessibility yielding a number of benefits, let’s talk about how to improve accessibility on your existing site.

1. Educate Yourself

You can’t improve website accessibility without understanding: One, what website accessibility is, and two, which guidelines and laws you need to follow. Get familiar with the guidelines outlined in WCAG. This will help you understand which level of accessibility compliance you need to meet and where to get started. You may also want to consider enrolling in accessibility training as this can deepen your understanding of accessibility and its importance.

2. Evaluate Your Website

Once you have a basic understanding of accessibility standards, evaluate your current website with accessibility evaluation tools. These tools can help identify areas where your website needs improvement. We recommend supplementing automated testing with human testing as automated can also test for detectable accessibility errors — manual testing helps to fill in those gaps.

For example, AudioEye’s digital accessibility platform uses automated testing to check for common accessibility errors. Our team of human testers then conduct expert audits to uncover harder to detect accessibility issues such as poor or missing alt text, low-contrast text, or non-functional site navigation. We then provide recommendations on how to fix identified errors through either automated fixes or custom fixes.

3. Test with Assistive Technologies

As part of your website audit, consider testing your site with actual assistive technologies and screen reader users. This gives you a clear understanding of how screen reader users experience your website and where potential roadblocks are. Pay attention to what respondents have to say as they can help identify accessibility issues that are negatively impacting their experience.

To get you started with assistive technology testing, check out our post “Using the NVDA Screen Reader to Test Web Accessibility.”

4. Implement Quick and Easy Changes

Depending on how many accessibility errors were found in audits of your site, you may feel overwhelmed at the number of problems that need to be addressed. We recommend starting with smaller, easier changes before tackling bigger ones. For example, adding missing alt text to images or improving keyboard navigation are easy places to start and do make a huge difference in the user experience for disabled users.

5. Prioritize Content Structure

As you’re making easy changes, remember to keep the content structure of your site in mind. This is especially important for users with cognitive disabilities as a clear structure keeps the user focused and minimizes distractions. Your site should have a clear, organized content structure, use headings and lists appropriately, and have proper HTML semantic markup.

6. Use Accessible Forms

Ensure users who rely on assistive technologies can properly fill out a form and use interactive elements such as buttons and links. Forms should have clear controls and enable users to easily navigate between pages and input information; interactive elements should have appropriate labels and ARIA attributes to ensure they’re usable. Ensure these features are available on both mobile and desktop apps.

Learn more about how to make forms accessible by reading our post “6 Tips for Making Forms Accessible.”

7. Caption and Transcribe All Multimedia

Multimedia such as videos or sound clips should include captions or transcriptions to accommodate users with hearing impairments. While this feature is highly beneficial for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, users with situational disabilities — such as being in a noisy environment — benefit from the feature as well.

8. Schedule Regular Audits

It’s important to remember that accessibility is not a destination — it’s a journey. Every time you update your site or release new content, you introduce new accessibility risks. Scheduling regular accessibility audits enables you to identify new errors, fix them, and stay compliant.

Accessibility symbol in the middle of a world surrounded by people.

Gain a Competitive Edge with Accessibility

Accessible websites are better for everyone — including those with and without disabilities. As the world’s population grows, so too does the number of individuals with accessibility. Because of this, it’s likely more accessibility guidelines and legislation will be introduced. This also means more competition. Organizations that prioritize accessibility are more likely to attract disabled users and close more sales.

If you’re not already taking the steps to improve your site’s accessibility, it’s time to get started. At AudioEye, we have all the accessibility features and tools necessary to enhance accessibility and usability. From our color contrast checker to our Expert Audits, AudioEye ensures your site is not just compliant, but inclusive and accessible to all.

Don’t be just another web accessibility statistic. Start fixing accessibility errors now with a free accessibility scan from AudioEye.

Ready to test your website for accessibility?

Scan your website now.

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