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Coronavirus: website accessibility has never been more important

Nicole McTheny

Posted March 24, 2020

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We’re living in unprecedented times. The first global pandemic of the digital era is upon us. With the rapid spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), terms like “social distancing,” and “flatten the curve” have quickly become everyday vernacular. Physical locations are temporarily closing. Government leaders are encouraging – if not mandating – that individuals stay at home.

The reliance on our connection to the digital world never has been more critical.

The flow of commerce and communication must continue, unimpeded.

But the fact is, for many of the individuals who are most at risk, fully engaging with your website and applications can be difficult or, even, impossible. This is a demographic that represents 16-percent of the United States population, including the elderly. For example, someone who has low vision or is blind and reliant upon a screen reader, simply can’t interact with a website if it isn’t created to be effective with the screen reader. Further, someone who is epileptic may have to quickly exit a website that has too much movement or animation. An individual with dyslexia may require the ability to change the font in order to read it. A user unable to use a mouse to navigate will only be able to engage and interact with a site if measures have been taken to support visual focus and keyboard navigation. These are the types of digital access barriers that are impacting tens of millions of people around the world.

Now consider these individuals quarantined. and forced to navigate in the digital world, which might now be the only way of interacting with the outside world. Further, these individuals are finding that those routes are all effectively closed for business. When accessibility isn’t accounted for, they can’t find out the latest news regarding the pandemic, pay their bills, participate in online education, conduct their banking, schedule doctor’s appointments, even socialize with friends. This scary time we are all living through is particularly – and unjustly – amplified for those individuals with disabilities relying on an equal digital playing field. Equal access online still isn’t a guarantee.

In an effort to urgently help online businesses and organizations address this critical need for digital access, we’re making our AudioEye Pro digital accessibility solution free of charge through June 30 for 90 days. With AudioEye Pro, our industry-leading technology recognizes and resolves many common errors that may pose a barrier. Our solution also includes free developer tools that site owners can use to resolve the remaining errors.

Together, we can work to eradicate every barrier to digital access.  And there has not been a more important time than now in the digital era.

Bottom line: we want to help you ensure your website remains open for business for every visitor, because ensuring that these visitors can continue to thrive in this digitally dependent, unprecedented time is not optional – it’s our moral imperative.

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