Why Care About Accessibility

Accessibility is a key component of the University of Oregon’s strategic plan to attract, retain, and promote the success of students. Disability is an often-overlooked component of diversity; many high-achieving students have disabilities that may prevent them from accessing technology services via traditional means. Having highly accessible technology makes UO an attractive option forthosestudents, and promotes our mission of inclusivity and recruiting a diverse student body. 

Beyond the University’s goal of inclusivity, and beyond our obligation as an institution of higher learning to meet certain accessibility standards for legal compliance, having a fully accessible site benefits everyone.  

  • Accessible design is good design, not just for users with disabilities, but for everyone. Easily navigable and clearly designed and organized pages provides for an easier browsing experience, regardless of any permanent or temporary disability. 
  • For website owners, it can reduce the number of support requests that have to be manually fielded. 
  • It expands the audience of visitors who might be interested in your services.  

Disabilities are more common than you may realize. Per the 2010 census, 56.7 million Americans had some form of disability, and 38.3 million Americans had a severe disability. Of this demographic: 

  • 8.1 million people have some form of limited vision that cannot be remedied by corrective lenses. This ranges from partial color blindness to total blindness in one or both eyes. 
  • 7.6 million people have some form of hearing loss. 
  • 19.9 million people have difficulty lifting or grasping, potentially interfering with their ability to use a computer mouse. 
  • 15.2 million people have a cognitive, mental, or emotional impairment. 

Disabilities are often underdiagnosed and underreported due to lack of access to medical providers and/or fear of stigma. As the population has both grown and aged since 2010, these numbers likely underrepresent the current prevalence of disability.