In the evolving landscape of web accessibility, ensuring that web content and digital products are accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, has become a priority for organizations worldwide. 

As awareness grows, so implements strategies aimed at achieving accessibility compliance. Two prominent methods have emerged in this endeavor: the born-accessible approach and accessibility remediation. 

In this article, we explore these approaches, their significance, and which might fit your organization’s needs.

Table of Contents:

The Gap in Digital Content Accessibility: Why it Matters

Recent statistics highlight the critical need for accessible digital content. According to the World Health Organization, over 1.3 billion people worldwide live with some form of disability, representing nearly 16% (1 in 6 individuals) of the world’s population.

Keeping in mind the current state of affairs, ensuring that digital platforms are inclusive has become paramount. The web accessibility standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), set forth by the W3C, aim to provide a universal standard for digital accessibility solutions. 

A recent report by WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind) revealed that 97.4% of the top 1 million home pages had detectable WCAG compliance failures. This highlights a significant gap in digital content accessibility, which exists for several reasons:

  • Lack of Awareness: Many educational institutions and website developers are not fully aware of the importance of accessibility or how to make their content accessible. This leads to the creation of digital content that is not optimized for users with disabilities.
  • Technical Challenges: Making digital content accessible often requires specific technical knowledge and tools. Many content creators may not have the resources or expertise to implement accessibility features effectively.
  • Cost Considerations: Some organizations may perceive accessibility efforts as costly, especially if they are retrofitting existing content or websites. This can lead to reluctance to invest in accessibility improvements.
  • Legal Compliance: While many countries have laws and regulations that require digital content to be accessible, enforcement and compliance are not always stringent. This can result in a lack of incentive for organizations to prioritize accessibility.
  • Changing Technology: As technology evolves, new challenges and complexities arise in making digital content accessible. Keeping up with these changes can be challenging for organizations.

Closing the gap in digital content accessibility requires a combined effort from EdTech companies, developers, policymakers, and technology providers. This emphasizes the need for effective accessibility evaluation and implementation strategies.

What is the Born Accessible Learning Approach?

The born-accessible approach refers to the practice of integrating accessibility compliance and web accessibility standards from the earliest stages of digital product development. This proactive strategy ensures that digital accessibility solutions are considered at every step, from design to deployment, making accessibility a core component of the development process. 

The born-accessible strategy aims to create digital content accessible to all users by default, negating the need for subsequent modifications or remediation strategies.

Implementing a born accessible approach involves:

  • Thorough accessibility assessment during the planning phases.
  • Continuous accessibility evaluation throughout development.
  • Adherence to WCAG compliance standards.

This method not only fosters inclusivity but also significantly reduces the time and resources required for post-launch accessibility adjustments.

What is a Remediation Learning Approach?

In contrast, the accessibility remediation learning approach focuses on addressing and correcting accessibility compliance issues in existing digital content. 

Remediation strategies involve conducting an accessibility evaluation of current digital assets, identifying WCAG compliance gaps, and implementing necessary changes to meet web accessibility standards. This reactive approach is often employed by organizations looking to make their existing digital landscape accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.

Accessibility remediation can be a comprehensive process, depending on the extent of non-compliance and the complexity of the digital content involved. It requires a detailed accessibility assessment to highlight issues, followed by the application of digital accessibility solutions to resolve these problems. 

Although remediation strategies are essential for enhancing the accessibility of existing content, they can be resource-intensive and may not address all potential accessibility barriers as effectively as the born-accessible approach.

Also Read: PDFs 2.0: The Rise of Smart Remediation with AI and Automation

When it comes to creating accessible digital content, two primary approaches exist: Born Accessible and Remediation. Each approach has its own set of benefits and considerations, and choosing the right one depends on various factors, including the nature of the content, the resources available, and the level of accessibility required.

For instance, the born-accessible approach involves creating digital content with accessibility in mind right from the start. This means incorporating accessibility features and best practices during the content creation process. Born accessible content tends to be of higher quality, as accessibility considerations are integrated seamlessly into the design and structure. 

While it may require more upfront investment in terms of time, effort, and resources, creating content that is born accessible can be more cost-effective in the long run. It reduces the need for costly remediation efforts later on and is more likely to comply with accessibility standards and regulations, thereby reducing the risk of legal issues. 

However, incorporating accessibility into the learning content creation workflow may require adjustments to existing processes and expertise in accessibility best practices and standards, which may require training or hiring skilled professionals, such as Hurix Digital.

On the other hand, the remediation approach involves making existing digital content accessible after it has been created. This may include retrofitting content to add accessibility features or making adjustments to improve accessibility. 

Remediation can be useful if you have a large amount of content that needs to be updated. It provides flexibility in terms of when and how accessibility features are added, allowing you to prioritize content based on need or importance. Remediation also allows for incremental improvements in the accessibility of your content over time, rather than having to address all accessibility issues at once. 

However, remediation can be costly, especially for large volumes of content or complex remediation needs. It can also be time-consuming, especially if it requires significant changes or restructuring. Additionally, remediated content may not always achieve the same level of quality as born accessible content, as some accessibility features may be more difficult to integrate into existing content.

Also Read: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Various Disabilities and Promoting Inclusivity

The Bottom Line

Choosing between the born accessible and remediation approach depends on several factors, including the current state of your digital content’s accessibility, resource availability, and long-term digital accessibility goals. 

For new projects, adopting a born-accessible strategy from the outset is advisable, as it embeds accessibility into the fabric of the digital product, ensuring inclusivity and compliance from day one. For existing digital assets, remediation provides a vital pathway to achieving accessibility compliance and enhancing the user experience for individuals with disabilities.

Ultimately, both approaches play a crucial role in the broader mission to make the digital world accessible to everyone. Whether you’re starting fresh or improving accessibility through remediation, the goal remains the same: to create an inclusive digital environment that welcomes all users.

If you’re looking for professionals with implementing accessibility, Hurix Digital can help! With our experience in navigating accessibility complexities, we guarantee that your content is not only compliant but truly accessible to everyone.

Connect with us to learn more!