In 2016, Nielson reported that as many as 35% of households report at least one person with a disability and 8% of those report a vision loss. As of this year, nearly 20% of the current US population has a disability. People with genetic disabilities are not the only part of that group. Our generation is aging, and as we age, the number of people with age-related disabilities is growing. The current older population, unlike previous generations, is tech savvy- they use smartphones and computers to shop online, bank online, make travel arrangements, research restaurants, and take online classes. And they will continue to do so, even as disabilities overtake them with age. All of us are aging into this group.
While we are working to make the world more accessible for people with disabilities, and for ourselves as we age and develop disabilities, many of us already enjoy the features on our computers and smartphones originally designed for
assistive technology users. Siri and Alexa were both designed from models created for people with disabilities, and many of those features enrich our lives. Closed captioning for the deaf is also great for folks who want to watch a video on a busy bus. Accessible color contrast for people with low vision or color-blindness is easier to read in dark
or glaring environments- just ask the people who make billboards. Making content understandable for a variety of cognitive capabilities means people with limited time can absorb the content you’re trying to share with them quickly and easily.
That’s exactly why Onix, a premier Google and Amazon partner who has provided cloud solutions for over 25 years, found value in acquiring Equidox and getting involved in making our world more accessible.
Tim Needles, Onix President and CEO, asserts, “Accessibility is another challenge we can solve. We have a tool for this. No person should be left out of your organization’s success; no person should be excluded from your organization’s products or services.”
Equidox knows that inclusion enriches our community and allows people with disabilities to participate more fully in society and be more independent More importantly, it allows them to live their lives much as we all do. In order to thrive, we all need to eat, sleep, get an education, shop, go on vacation, and raise our children. Accessibility means we can all do these things, whether or we have a disability now or may have one in the future.
We work with our clients to help them get digital information to their end-user. This includes people who use assistive technology to gather information from the internet: from websites, web documents, and digital communications. And that end-user base is growing every day.
Our team takes accessibility very seriously. It’s not just about the lawsuits and the regulations, and it’s certainly not about the checklists. Ryan Pugh, Director of Accessibility, says, “This is the information age. Access to information is a fundamental human right and plays an essential role in all aspects of our lives, yet a billion people are locked out by inaccessible design. It’s not about checking boxes, it’s about reaching everyone.”
Our Lead Developer, Eric Cantin, reminds us, “Equidox was created to make it easy to convert your documents and make them accessible at the same time. That way your users are able to access your content in the way THEY want, on the device THEY want and even print it the way THEY want. That is accessibility to me.”
Why do we do what we do? Because we have the technology to do so. And because we want everyone to be included. We want digital information found everywhere to reach everyone.