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Pursuing Digital Accessibility: A Pathway to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Why building accessible websites is critical to diversity, equity, and inclusion

by maiya
published on January 16, 2024
Colorful figurines of people on a dark background. Some of the figures are a person with a wheelchair.

As we increasingly rely on digital platforms and content to perform daily tasks, do business, and connect with others, a digital world that is accessible becomes even more imperative.

We’ve seen progress with accessibility in the physical world, thanks to the principles of universal design conceived by architects, product designers, and environmental design researchers. But as the distinctions between what we do online and offline are increasingly blurring, the web and web technologies have to catch up. It is simply unethical to exclude the 15 percent of individuals worldwide who experience disability from using the web easily and without restriction.

Digital accessibility ensures that websites, applications, and online content are usable by all, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. Aside from the practical application of digital accessibility, it’s also a crucial element of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) practices, and something we are committed to at Mangrove.

Digital accessibility as an avenue to inclusivity

By examining the broader goals of DEIJ, the deep connection with digital accessibility becomes clear. By making digital content accessible, we embrace the widest possible user group, recognize and respect the broad array of individual abilities and needs, and reflect a conscious approach to inclusion within the digital realm.

Let’s take a closer look:

Diversity

Digital accessibility amplifies diversity by recognizing and respecting the unique abilities and needs of a diverse range of users. By designing platforms and content that cater to a wide range of abilities, we foster a more diverse user base.

Equity

At its core, digital accessibility strives to level the playing field. It ensures that everyone, regardless of their abilities, has equal access to information, products, and services online. In doing so, it upholds the principles of equity and justice. 

Inclusion

An accessible digital environment is an inclusive one. By designing and writing with accessibility in mind, we actively include individuals who might otherwise be excluded due to disabilities. It’s about fostering a sense of belonging and participation in the digital landscape.

Digital accessibility at Mangrove

At Mangrove, we are dedicated to being agents of positive change in the tech industry. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice are not just buzzwords for us, our commitment to DEIJ is  at the very foundation of our operations.

From our perspective, there is an ethical imperative to create digital products that meet the needs of most (and ideally all) users. This is not simply a box to tick. Accessibility is a way of operating as an agency – and a way of thinking – that takes into account the totality of the work we are doing in the world: including supporting our clients, promoting social justice, and ensuring that our products are inherently equitable. Many of the regular practices we follow in our work are outlined in our digital accessibility overview series

As we chart our way forward and create new goals, we are putting accessibility first in our business conversations, outlook and vision for the future. 

Bridging the gap

Digital accessibility isn’t just a concept; it’s a set of tangible actions that demonstrate alignment with the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It means striving to make online spaces as inclusive—or more inclusive—than the physical world, focusing on empathy and ensuring a responsible approach to user engagement. Prioritizing accessibility is more than just a business decision; it’s a way of making a positive impact and creating a more inclusive society.

Is your current website accessible? If it’s not, or even if your answer is “I don’t know,” it’s okay — we’re here to support you in learning what this means and how to move forward. Connect with us today to discuss your website’s accessibility in detail.

 

A Certified B Corp, Mangrove is a woman-owned website design and development company with a diverse, talented team distributed around the globe. We’ve been building websites since 2009 that amplify the work of change-making organizations and increase the competitive power of businesses owned by historically marginalized people.

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