Why is Accessibility Important?
In a 2015 WebAIM survey of screen reader users’ preferences, about 50% of respondents found PDFs difficult to read. Making documents accessible is necessary so that people of all abilities can work with and understand them. Prioritizing accessibility helps improve customer experience, mitigate legal risks, and even enhance employee productivity. In addition, providing contracts and forms that individuals who use screen readers can access also greatly helps with customer satisfaction, by meeting the growing demand for accessible documents.
ADA and Section 508 compliance standards require certain levels of document accessibility, which should be met to avoid legal issues including complaints, litigation costs, and damages. Several complaints have been filed over the past decade against universities, government administrations, and private corporations for ADA and Section 508 violations. For instance, in a 2015 settlement following an action by the National Federation of the Blind, digital library subscription service Scribd was forced to make all new documents accessible before uploading to their website, as well as make previously posted files accessible on request. Pre-emptively ensuring that documents are up to standard can help you avoid substantial unforeseen costs and legal battles such as this.