Accessibility 101 for the Hospitality & Travel Industry
Real Travelers. Real Issues.
Travelers with disabilities come across many barriers when planning, booking, and taking a trip, whether for business or pleasure. Some of these are minor inconveniences, but others can make travel extremely difficult or even impossible without help.
A kiosk for printing boarding passes at the airport lacks the pinch-to-zoom feature, making it impossible for a woman with low vision to check in for her flight.
The calendar on a hotel’s reservation page is not compatible with voice recognition software, so a man with severe arthritis cannot select the dates he wishes to stay.
A tour guide’s website uses a color scheme and font that cannot be read by a potential traveler with dyslexia.
Over the last 20 years Level Access has worked with countless hospitality and travel organizations to ensure their websites and mobile apps are accessible for their customers.
The ADA & You
The Law: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title III
First passed: 1990
Recent court decision: 2017
Applies to: “Places of public accommodation.” In the past, this was not interpreted to mean websites, but with the recent 2017 judgment against Winn-Dixie, we expect to see more litigation in this space.
Requires: Organizations must provide accommodations for people with disabilities.
What is Accessibility?
Digital accessibility refers to the ability of users with disabilities to effectively use information technology (IT) systems including websites, mobile or web-based applications, software, and hardware. Digital accessibility is generally concerned with ensuring that IT systems are designed in such a way that they interact appropriately with assistive technologies.
Assistive technologies can include:
Screen readers, Braille keypads, or screen magnification software so users who are blind or low vision can read your content.
Voice recognition software that helps those with mobility disabilities (even arthritis) navigate the web and type using only their voice.
Head pointers and switch devices that allow those with more limited movement navigate without using their hands or a traditional mouse.
Some of our elders remember the days when a computer filled an entire room. Now, we have computers in our pockets. So many aspects of our lives are made easier by technology.
Yet, those with disabilities are often left out when hardware, software, websites, and apps are designed without a thought for their needs.
A tablet at the doctor’s office has a sign-in program that disables the pinch-to-zoom feature, making it impossible for a woman with low vision to fill out her medical history.
An online learning portal uses automatically-generated captions on their videos, leaving a deaf student at a loss for words. Literally.
A retail website does not include alt text on their product images, so a shopper who is blind cannot “see” what the images show about the laptop bag he wants to buy.
By some estimates, one in five people has a disability that affects their daily life. Having equal access to technology has a profound, enabling effect for people with disabilities.