I didn’t know much about Springer’s background, he’s been doing accessibility work for 20 years. He started his accessibility journey when he was an undergraduate student at Stanford University.
Now CEO at Level Access, Springer developed Level Access’s core technology and led development of InFocus, the first commercial web accessibility testing software.
In recognition of his work, Springer was recently awarded a Champion of Change award by the White House.
The presentation kept me engaged throughout; I felt like I was in the same room as the attendees. How did that happen?
Springer told attendees to ask questions during his talk and not wait til the end of his presentation.
Here are my notes from his talk.
2019 Digital Accessibility Trends
- Springer kicked off his talk asking everyone to take out their cell phone and hand it to the person next to you. And asked people how they felt. (People didn’t feel good.) His point in the exercise? Illustrates how important technology is in your life. And that access to technology is important.
- We should enable all people to live their best lives through access to technology. Access to technology is a fundamental right to human beings.
- If you don’t have access to technology, that’s a negative aspect in your life. If you do have access, it’s an empowering force in your life.
- We need to take a stand in our digital accessibility industry: access to technology is critical. We should try to make sure it’s available to everyone.
- By 2030, more of the population will be older than 65 years than under 18 years in the United States.
- On average, as we get older, we will have more disabilities.
- Digital natives, born between 1998 and 2016, expect technology to work. And they expect access to content functionality across devices.
- If digital natives don’t have access to technology, they’re shut out by societal interactions, earning, and learning opportunities.
- More people are spending money online. Mobile search is growing across core retail.
- Prices at online stores decrease faster than prices in a brick and mortar store (more competition online leads to price competition).
- If you don’t have access to an online store, you’re at an economic disadvantage.
- Increase in number of accessible video games. Due to the United States 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), the chat feature in video games needs to be accessible. As does the path to the chat in the video games.
- Regulatory view of technology is changing. Governments are paying more attention to data protection and privacy. Will it carry over to digital accessibility? Not clear, says Springer, but not likely with the current U.S. administration.
- The way we learn is changing. More learning is video-based and self-directed online. If the platforms aren’t accessible, how will you learn?
- According to law firm Seyfarth Shaw, at least 2,258 digital accessibility cases were filed in 2018. The number is growing. And almost all cases settle.
- Demand letters and threat of litigation are the primary methods for notifying organizations that their website/app is inaccessible. Few legal decisions, due to settlements.
- One important case, Robles v Dominos Pizza LLC, was dismissed at the district court level. But the decision was overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court, which said that the Americans with Disabilities Act applied to websites.
- If you haven’t invested in digital accessibility, your website is likely not accessible.
- Enforcement of digital accessibility will continue to grow. Lawsuits have changed the conversation about digital accessibility. And raised awareness of digital accessibility.
- Scanning a website is a step in the process of website accessibility. Ultimately, you need to make sure your app or website is usable by people with disabilities.
- Organizations that do digital accessibility well do it for their users, not because of marketing or legal reasons.
If you’re interested, the livestream video (with captions) of the talk is available on YouTube. I didn’t include it in this post, since it’s not clear to me what license is on the video.