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IoT Accessibility: Why IoT Needs Design with Accessibility in Mind

According to the CDC’s most recent estimate, 1 in 4 U.S. adults lives with a disability that impacts their daily activities. And while accessibility legislation, standards, and market demands have propelled digital developers to make great strides in terms of developing accessible apps, websites, and digital solutions, there is still much work to do.

IoT Accessibility & Quality of Life

One area that’s ripe for continued focus – and that can have a major impact on the quality of life for people living with all types of impairments – is IoT. As we’ve written before, IoT is one of the fastest-growing areas of technology:

The total installed base of IoT connected devices is projected to amount to 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025, a fivefold increase in ten years. The IoT, enabled by the already ubiquitous Internet technology, is the next major step in delivering the Internet’s promise of making the world a connected place.


IoT is also changing the way people interact with their environments, which can be especially profound for those with disabilities. For example, think about how smart home, voice-controlled IoT devices might improve the abilities of people with mobility challenges to control their own home environment – from lighting to temperature to security. Or, imagine how technology that uses smartphone camera imagery to describe a person’s surroundings or read a written document might impact the lives of people with visual impairments.

As you can see, technologies designed with accessibility in mind can be game changers for people with a wide variety of needs – offering people with disabilities increased independence and an easier way of life.

Business Considerations

Building accessibility into the design of IoT solutions doesn’t just improve quality of life for end-users, it also has significant business impact. Consider that:

  • There is a Large Market for Digital Accessibility: The population of people who use assistive technology to navigate the Internet is over $350 billion in size.
  • Accessibility is Cost-Effective: According to a Forrester Research Economic Impact Study, accessibility could contribute to cost savings when it is integrated into existing and ongoing development cycles. “Technology updates and redesigns that include accessibility along with other best practices have demonstrated reduced costs for maintenance and service.”
  • A Commitment to Accessibility Has Brand Impact: Brands that demonstrate a commitment to diversity by embracing accessibility in the design of their products and services experience enhanced brand image and reputation, increased sales and customer loyalty, and improved workforce diversity.
  • Accessibility Mitigates Legal Risk: As digital solutions become more ubiquitous, they are increasingly subject to laws designed to protect those with disabilities.

“In the U.S., the number of legal actions continues to rise and courts increasingly decide in favor of equal access, often citing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).” – W3.org

Guidelines for high-contrasting colors ensure that screens are accessible to the colorblind, for example.

Digital Accessibility at DevIQ

Designing solutions that improve quality of life and deliver strong business impact is the Dev IQ mission. That’s why we incorporate accessibility into the design of all of our projects and solutions.

Our UX design thinking process starts with empathy, understanding the problem, and user and industry research. This includes understanding and interviewing how people with disabilities will potentially use our designs because, after all, we don’t know what we don’t know. Our process follows the W3C guidelines for contrast and visual design while also standardizing on a front-end framework that will utilize aria labels, focus order for screen readers, alternative text for images and responsiveness to allow for text-size changes. We aim to design for a diverse set of users who will interact with our products.

By integrating accessibility features into the design of IoT solutions, our customers experience a consistent UX that’s intuitive and user-friendly for disabled and non-disabled users alike.

Updated 2/2020