Ten basic accessibility facts

All accessibility managers should be comfortable communicating the following facts and the reasons behind them.

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC
5 min readAug 27, 2020


Tilted sign that says “Back to Basics” hanging on black chalkboard

Authors note: Because of Medium’s refusal to address its accessibility issues for both authors and readers, I’ve moved my last three years of blogs to Substack. Please sign up there for notices of all new articles. Also, I will be updating older articles (like this one) and the updates will only be published on Substack. Thank you for your continued readership and support.

Fact #1: All accessibility (digital and physical) is a civil right.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law for people with disabilities. The vast amounts of successful litigation over inaccessible websites, native mobile apps, and documentation have been driven by plaintiffs with disabilities enforcing those civil rights.

Fact #2: People with disabilities are the largest minority group in the United States.

Depending on what survey you are looking at, the number of people with disabilities ranges between 18 and 26 % of the overall population, larger than any ethnic group. The numbers vary from region to region, with higher rates of disability in the South.

Complicated CDC chart delineating disability rates, described in narrative
From the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/infographic-disability-impacts-all.html
  • 13.7 % of people have mobility issues making it difficult to walk or climb stairs
  • 10.8 % have cognition issues making it difficult to concentrate, remember, or make decisions
  • 6.7 % have difficulty performing errands alone
  • 5.9 % have hearing loss
  • 4.6 % have vision loss
  • 3.7 % have difficulty taking care of themselves

Fact #3: Disability is not caused by a medical condition

The impact of a medical condition is not a disability. Society both enacts and enables barriers that cause people to be disabled. That makes society 100 % responsible for both…



Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

LinkedIn Top Voice for Social Impact 2022. UX Collective Author of the Year 2020. Disability Inclusion SME. Sr Staff Accessibility Architect @ VMware.