On International Day of People with a Disability, Infosys (NYSE: INFY) a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting has released a first of its kind report: Exploring digital accessibility priorities and investments in Australia and New Zealand organisations.
The study assessed for the first time, how far 670 organisations across Australia (570) and New Zealand (100) are on their digital accessibility journey.
It found, when it comes to digital accessibility adoption, like creating screen-reader friendly websites or adding subtitles to audio-visual media, almost half are yet to make any significant improvements to online touchpoints for customers and employees or are only in their infancy.
In response, disability access groups are calling on Australian organisations to prioritise digital accessibility, recommending more collaboration and industry benchmarking.
From least to more advanced in their digital accessibility journey, the report found that in Australia:
- 9 per cent of organisations are in an Emerging phase with no or minimal progress to date.
- 41 per cent of organisations are in the Explorers phase, still in the early phase of building inclusive processes.
- Almost half (47 per cent) of organisations are in the Adopter phase of their journey with established digital accessibility strategies.
- Only 3 per cent of organisations are Trailblazers, ahead of the curve with embedding digital accessibility consistently across their organisation.
The research also found three in five (59 per cent) organisations believe that digital accessibility will only become widespread once it becomes legislated.
New Zealand organisations were leading their Australian counterparts when it came to online inclusion, with 62 per cent at the Adopter phase compared to just 47 per cent in Australia.
Though the recent announcement of planned reforms by the New Zealand government along with a new Ministry for people with disability and collaboration programs with NGO’s, this gap is expected to widen.
The Centre for Accessibility Australia’s CEO, Scott Hollier said: “This first of its kind research from Infosys provides a new insight into the mindsets of organisations when it comes to digital inclusion, and it clearly found those with a digital accessibility plan, strong internal leadership and responsibility were streets ahead.”
“By creating a national digital accessibility roadmap for organisations to model and benchmark their performance, we’ll overcome the first major hurdle for organisations that don’t know where to start.”
Vision Australia manager for government relations and advocacy, Chris Edwards added: “You wouldn’t build a store without car parks for customers with a disability front and centre, so why should your website be any different?”
The report had also found stark accessibility gaps across sectors. While finance, consulting, IT and some retail organisations were leading, businesses in education, health and welfare had the greatest room for improvement.
Despite the accelerated shift to online government services and a sharp uptick in digital inclusion measures through the pandemic Government organisations still rank the lowest for digital accessibility in Australia and New Zealand.
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