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AFB Releases Phase 2 Study on Barriers to Digital Inclusion – TradingView News

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) this week released its latest study in a series examining digital inclusion for people with disabilities on websites and mobile applications. The study continues to confirm that major accessibility barriers still exist on the Internet, resulting in significant loss of time and lost revenue opportunities.

The published study provided a better understanding of the frustration that users who are blind, deafblind or have low vision experience when encountering inaccessible content on the Internet, mobile applications or kiosks. Among the key findings, researchers found that users encountered an average of 12 obstacles per week, requiring an additional 2.4 hours of wasted time trying to navigate the inaccessible platform. This is twice as much time needed to complete online tasks without barriers. When people faced inaccessible kiosks in retail or medical offices, they spent 74% of their time on a given task overcoming accessibility obstacles.

“The findings from the second phase of our digital inclusion research truly demonstrate how time-consuming inaccessible web and mobile applications are for people who rely on assistive technologies to complete essential tasks,” said Stephanie Enyart, AFB director of public policy and research. “This significant amount of additional wasted time results in lost productivity and business that would not have occurred if application developers had simply followed readily available accessibility standards.”

Recent regulations require entities to build their websites and applications to a specific accessibility standard, and the Department of Justice has routinely ruled that these standards apply to a broad range of entities.

Study participants shared their frustrations, ranging from unavailable waves at recreation centers to wasting up to three hours simply trying to purchase plane tickets. Participants needed an average of 24.3 minutes of assistance per week when sighted assistance was available. As discovered in the first phase of this series published in April 2023, it was no surprise that barriers would cause customers to take their business elsewhere if possible. In 20% of cases, participants gave up on the task they were trying to complete because accessibility barriers were insurmountable, and this often meant giving up on an online purchase.

The study’s recommendations included ongoing work by federal, state and local governments to implement accessibility safeguards. Computer science course instructors are also encouraged to incorporate accessibility best practices for future developers, and public and private entities are encouraged to ensure that content meets accessibility standards and that new software developers have a working knowledge of developing web and mobile applications that use these standards.

More information about this study can be found in the report online, where you can access the summary and additional information presented in this ongoing series.

Founded in 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind creates equal opportunities and expands opportunities for people who are blind, deafblind or have low vision through advocacy, thought leadership and strategic partnerships. Apart from publishing Journal of Visual Disorders and Blindness (JVIB)AFB is also the proud steward of the Helen Keller Archives, which is available on the AFB website at www.afb.org.

CONTACT: Tony Stephens, associate vice president of communications
212.502.7627 | [email protected]