3 Accessibility Misconceptions to Leave Behind in 2021

illustration of three people holding phones with accessibility logo on the back of each phone

Misconception: Accessibility Features Are Only Used by People with Disabilities

The most obvious example of this is probably Captions.   Maybe you’ve got a prospect in a loud room or who simply doesn’t want to turn the sound on their device on.  Captions, an accessibility feature, will ensure that your audience still receives your content’s message. 

And people are often surprised by how useful and cool some of the iPhone accessibility features are.  Backtap for example lets you easily map functions and features to the simple gesture of tapping the back of your phone.  Flexible features like this are easy for anyone to find a use for.

Misconception: Accessibility Can Be Handled by AI 

AI is great for accessibility.  It can help us create more comprehensive and efficient tests.  It can help us create tools to make inaccessible content more accessible.  But, right now, it can’t do everything. 

In other words, slapping some AI generated alt text or captions will not make your content accessible.  The software that creates these captions and descriptions just isn’t smart enough to provide adequate context.  Worse yet, it may get some important things wrong.  

There may come a day when computers can generate accessibility content and evaluate user experience on the same level that humans can—but that day is not here.  In 2021, creating accessible content and web applications still requires a human touch. 

Misconception: Accessibility Overlays Work

Despite widespread criticism from accessibility professionals across the industry, Accessibility Overlays are still fairly common. They attract decision makers with their promise of a quick, easy solution to accessibility.  They promise to protect businesses from lawsuits and add full compliance, all with just a few lines of code!  

What these accessibility “solutions” actually provide is a clunky interface that more often than not fails to deliver an accessible experience.  And as the public’s understanding of exactly what accessibility is and why it is important grows, these quick fixes will hopefully become a thing of the past.  

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