Sydney, Australia – 3 December 2021
On International Day of People with 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 at the 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:
The research found three in five (59%) 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% at Adopter phase compared to just 47% in Australia. With the recent announcement of planned reforms by the New Zealand government to introduce the New Zealand Accessibility Act, along with a new Ministry for people with disability and collaboration programs between NGOs and the New Zealand government, the 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 of those currently tackling the challenge in an inconsistent way.”
“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 said: "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?"
“As a person with blindness, without accessible technology there is simply no way to engage with many organisations, whether that’s as a customer or as a member of the workforce. Businesses need to recognise they’re effectively cutting off a fifth of the population by not embedding accessibility in all their websites and digital touchpoints.”
The report found a staggering lack of understanding of the international standards for online accessibility, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). A third of respondents were completely unaware of WCAG with a further third saying they are aware but don’t know much about them.
Intopia’s Managing Director, Stewart Hay said “There’s a need to drive more awareness and education on the benefits of enabling better digital access for people with disability. While very significant, it’s not surprising to see that more than a third of respondents were not aware of the benefits of enabling digital access for their employees or customers. Normalising an inclusive culture is crucial if organisations are to accelerate their digital journeys”.
Employment benefits not well recognised
The digital decision makers and insiders surveyed said an absence of clear objectives, perceived budgetary constraints, and lack of in-house expertise were the biggest accessibility roadblocks.
The goal of building a more diverse and inclusive culture was the biggest current motivation for Australian businesses (49%), followed by alignment with company values (39%) and a drive to broaden the customer base and support diverse client needs (39%).
WSurprisingly less than a third of Australian organisations recognised the potential benefits of expanding the recruitment pool (31%), despite high demand for talent in the current Australian market.
“Educated workplaces are embracing an inclusive and diverse workforce, gaining access to a talent pool brimming with skilled people with disability. Through services such as our Access and Inclusion Index and Disability Confident Recruiter program, we’re helping many organisations to identify and remove unintended barriers to build a welcoming and inclusive workplace.,” Amy Whalley, Deputy CEO, Australian Network on Disability.
Stark accessibility gaps across sectors
The report found finance and consulting as well as IT and retail organisations were leading when it came to digital accessibility standards. While businesses in the education, NFP and health and welfare sectors 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 (at a rate almost three times that of publicly listed companies), Government organisations still rank the lowest for digital accessibility in Australia and New Zealand.
Public Sector has among the lowest percentage of Adopters (37%) of all industries, also ranking furthest behind when it came to digital accessibility for employees.
The report identified three fundamental steps for organisations towards digital accessibility maturity:
Andrew Groth, Executive Vice President, Infosys and Region Head, Australia and New Zealand, said: “We are committed to the journey to improve digital access across our organisation’s digital assets. We have also made digital accessibility online training available to all our employees and engaged advisors to help us accelerate our journey.
“Everyone wins when it comes to improving digital accessibility, including customers, employees, partners and business leaders. With clear targets, collaboration, and national benchmarking, we can all lift the digital inclusion standards.”
Many thanks to our report advisors including the Australian Network on Disability, Intopia, The Centre for Accessibility Australia and Vision Australia, as well as Accessibility Tick and Access Advisors in New Zealand.
Infosys is a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting. We enable clients in more than 50 countries to navigate their digital transformation. With over four decades of experience in managing the systems and workings of global enterprises, we expertly steer our clients through their digital journey. We do it by enabling the enterprise with an AI-powered core that helps prioritize the execution of change. We also empower the business with agile digital at scale to deliver unprecedented levels of performance and customer delight. Our always-on learning agenda drives their continuous improvement through building and transferring digital skills, expertise, and ideas from our innovation ecosystem.
Visit www.infosys.com to see how Infosys (NSE, BSE, NYSE: INFY) can help your enterprise navigate your next.
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