2021 State of Accessibility Report
Diamond Releases 3rd Annual State of Accessibility Report with the First-Ever Findings on Mobile App Accessibility
Positive trend reveals accessibility improvements on the web and free iOS and Android apps lead the way in mobile accessibility
Los Angeles, CA – December 8, 2021 – Diamond, the leading digital agency in building accessible experiences, released today its 3rd Annual State of Accessibility Report (SOAR) with new findings on how the top websites and mobile apps across Apple and Android are performing in regards to accessibility. SOAR is published annually to assess the current state of accessibility across companies and industries, evaluate what has improved, and provide solutions for areas that still need better design. The report identifies accessibility metrics in the Alexa top 100 websites and, for the first time across the accessibility community, identifies deficiencies in the top free and paid mobile apps in the Apple and Google Play stores.
At 1.85 billion people globally, people with disabilities (PwD) represent more than one in four on the planet — a market larger than China. While minimal improvement was seen in the last two SOAR reports, there have been some massive improvements in this year’s report. Key findings on website testing include:
- During screen reader testing of the Alexa Top 100 websites, Diamond found that 62% of the sites were accessible compared to 40% in 2020 and 29% in 2019.
- This is a 50% improvement from 2020 to 2021 in sites that are accessible without errors, and a 100% improvement from 2019.
- During automated testing on the registration pages of the Alexa Top 100 websites, Diamond found:
- 67% had errors in sufficient color contrast
- 11% had errors in input field labels
- 97% had errors in the proper use of ARIA
- 24% had errors in alternative text for images
- 43% had errors where buttons and links should have text labels
During Diamond’s first ever testing of mobile apps, SOAR broke down testing between the top free and paid apps from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Key findings include:
- Screen Reader testing was done on the free apps’ registration screens to determine if the apps were accessible. Diamond found that 65% of the iOS apps and 75% of the Android apps were accessible.
- Only 35% of the paid iOS apps and 29% of the Android apps passed home screen manual accessibility testing.
- When the main features of all the free and paid apps were tested, 80% of the free iOS apps and 65% of the free Android apps passed, while only 10% of paid iOS apps and 40% of the paid Android apps passed.
- For free apps, screen orientation and text resize scored poorly, but alternative text and headings scored highly. Paid apps, on the other hand, scored poorly across the board. When it comes to testing mobile apps’ features with a screen reader, both iOS and Android showed far better results for free apps than for paid apps.
“When we started the SOAR report, our goal was to not only understand the current state of accessibility, but to engage the digital community and developers to make it a priority. People with disabilities have a right to be able to use any website or app that is created,” said Joe Devon, Co-Founder of Diamond and Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). “It’s wonderful to see that we are finally making progress on accessibility at the top end of the spectrum of apps and websites. While this is to be celebrated, there is still a great deal of work to do to make the entire internet and all apps accessible. Our report this year highlights these accomplishments, lays out solutions and a path for more developers and companies to continue improving accessibility globally.”
For the full SOAR report, findings, and more details on the methodology, please visit the SOAR page.
Diamond is your agency partner that builds accessible experiences. From websites to mobile apps, digital platforms, and products, Diamond has decades of experience building digital solutions at the intersection of innovation and inclusion. Our mission at Diamond is to solve complex technology problems by building well-crafted, accessible experiences at the core of every product. Our work spans from the backbone of the internet to search engines, AmericanIdol.com, Fox.com, NFL, Pluto.TV, and others. Every year, Diamond releases the State of Accessibility Report. The annual SOAR report strives to assess what the current state of accessibility is, so that we may track it over time and make sure it improves yearly. For more information, go to diamond.la or follow us @dwsla on Twitter.