Hard work and persistent advocacy have built significant momentum in achieving equal access for people with disabilities to digital opportunities in employment, education, and social interactions. While there is much still to be done, accessibility-focused legislation has spurred progress in industries such as healthcare, travel, and education. The result is increased awareness and implementation of digital accessibility on a much larger scale. Even if the Department of Justice ceases to enforce the mandates that encouraged these industries to pay attention to digital accessibility, the need for inclusion will not go away, nor will those people who fought for the protections in the first place.
Legislation isn’t the only area digital accessibility has gained a significant foothold. You would be hard-pressed to find a web design and development conference that didn’t include topics of accessibility, if not place it front and center. Usability professionals and the digital design community
as a whole now see digital accessibility as a key pillar of industry best practices. Still, educating, training, and spreading awareness on digital accessibility issues and skills remains at the core of what we all must do. By empowering people to design and develop accessibly, we ensure that inclusion happens and continues in a more organic and sustainable way.
The fact is, the number of web professionals committed to doing the right thing for diversity and inclusion and equal access has grown and continues to grow along with understanding of the issues. I am confident that the web industry will continue the momentum to do the right thing, regardless of who is in office. We must channel the groundswell of emotion and determination that has arisen following this election to be vigilant, remain steadfast, and continue our important work to ensure everyone has access to information and the benefits of modern technology.
As Lainey Feingold, Lawyer & Speaker at Law Office of Lainey Feingold, laid out in her pre-election call to vote, and in her powerful follow-up post, digital accessibility is here to stay, it is important to retain optimism, confidence, and community to continue to make progress. Together, we will retain the gains we have made and continue to ensure equal access to digital opportunities for all.