Research on Digital Accessibility for Blind and Low-Vision Consumers with McKinsey & Co. and Tilting the Lens

Digital accessibility means freedom in every aspect of one’s daily life, from work to shopping to entertainment

– Participant in an Italian research group 
Blue and white animated eye sits on a navy background with a white text that reads "Bridging another digital divide: Accessibility for blind and low-vision consumers".
Blue and white animated eye sits on a navy background with a white text that reads “Bridging another digital divide: Accessibility for blind and low-vision consumers”. Image credit: courtesy of McKinsey & Co.

To mark Global Accessibility Awareness Month, Tilting the Lens is proud to have supported the global management consultancy McKinsey & Company in its effort to understand the digital experiences of those who are Blind or have low vision. 

It is estimated that consumer companies with inaccessible websites and digital strategies lose $6.9 billion annually.

“The internet is unavailable” from Nucleus Research in July 2019

To move from awareness to action, continuous research is required. It enables us to illustrate the barriers, iterate solutions and measure successes. McKinsey’s research on the digital divide for those who are blind or have low vision is a key text toward this end, and offers a path for systemic change. 

The research was undertaken by engaging Blind and low vision consumers in the US, Germany and Italy in an accessible research process that included digital surveys, online focus groups and 1:2:1 interviews in three languages. Insights and results were strengthened by considering access accommodations at every stage—screen reader accessible formatting of digital documents were sent to all participants, visual descriptions and audio guidance were provided throughout the process, follow-up communication via phone calls were conducted if requested, and French and German language translators were made available for focus groups and 1:2:1 interviews.

The data shows that there is an immediate need for companies to implement tangible solutions in digital accessibility. While many organizations are at the beginning of this journey, even those already embedding best practices have more to do. When asked about 12 specific industries (including banking, education, retail, luxury, and media), participants suggested that all can do better if they are to build digital trust with Disabled communities.

The research also reiterated the need to include lived experience in the design and development stages of digital products and services. This representation is integral to the overall outcome and process. As one participant in Germany said, “If it is meant to be used by us, it should be influenced by us.”

To read the McKinsey article in full please follow the link below:

Article – Bridging another digital divide: Accessibility for Blind and low vision consumers 

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