May 18, 2023
On Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2023, the undersigned national disability organizations celebrate the transformative impact of accessible technology and call on the federal government to require websites and software applications to be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. The roughly 61 million people with disabilities in the United States have a right to access employment, businesses, programs, and services, regardless of whether they are delivered in-person or online.
Accessible technology is essential to provide people with greater opportunities, independence, and privacy. Recent research has shown the reverse to be true as well. When people with disabilities cannot access websites or apps, they lose their privacy, experience social exclusion, waste time seeking alternatives, must wait for and pay for assistance, and even must forego goods and services that they need.
When customers with disabilities cannot access websites and apps, businesses lose access to a significant portion of their market. More than 40% of blind, low-vision, and deafblind respondents to a recent survey said they will switch to a different business if they encounter access barriers while using a website or app. And about 60% feel like they don’t have as many choices as sighted people in which businesses to turn to for digital services.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day is an important annual event to celebrate and commit to accessible technology design and development and its benefits for individuals and organizations. To advance this goal, we call on the Department of Justice to move quickly to issue rules on website and application accessibility under titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We also urge Congress to acknowledge the need for accessibility in the virtual environment by reintroducing and passing the Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act. Ultimately, we urge all organizations, businesses, and governments to act now to make their websites and apps fully accessible to people with disabilities.
ACMCRN Arachnoiditis & Chronic Meningitis Collaborative Research Network
Alström Syndrome International
American Association of People with Disabilities
American Association on Health and Disability
American Council of the Blind
American Foundation for the Blind
American Printing House for the Blind
American Therapeutic Recreation Association
Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs
Autistic People of Color Fund
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Blinded Veterans Association
Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc.
Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf
Congenital Hyperinsulinism International
Disability Policy Consortium
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis
Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc.
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
National Association of the Deaf
National Disability Institute
National Disability Rights Network
National Federation of the Blind
National Industries for the Blind
National Research & Training Center on Blindness & Low Vision
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Partnership to Improve Patient Care
Perkins School for the Blind
TDI (Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc)
The Arc of the United States
The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation
United Spinal Association
Whistle Blowers of America