Howard Lerner, Superintendent, Bergen County Special Services, and Chair of the New Jersey Joint Council of County Special Services School Districts

We are fortunate to live in an age when infinite information is delivered almost instantly.

But the digital experience isn’t seamless for everyone.

Some people struggle to read small or light text, or become overwhelmed by animated graphics and dense content.

More than 1 billion people worldwide have disabilities or impairments, some of which can cause difficulty with using typical websites.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day, observed on May 19, highlights the need for inclusive digital experiences.

As the Chair of the New Jersey Joint Council of County Special Services School Districts, I am proud to provide an accessible website to our community. We were ahead of the curve, introducing our inclusive website before passage of the 2022 state law requiring school districts to provide accessible websites.

The customizable features on the Joint Council website are especially important for the student population we serve. Increased text spacing and text size assist people with visual impairments. The option to stop animations can be helpful for some users, such as those with autism and ADHD/ADD. Other user-friendly components include highlighting links and buttons for easy navigation, and enabling keyboard navigation for those unable to use a mouse.

As advocacy for people with disabilities shifts from awareness to acceptance, businesses and institutions must seek ways to better serve all audiences.

People with disabilities consult websites to learn about educational opportunities, find work and conduct the business of daily life, just like everyone else.  The digital resources they use should be just as accessible as they are for everyone else.

There are also clear benefits for any organization that provides an inclusive website:

  • Create a much wider potential audience. With more than 1 billion people with disabilities or impairments, there is a built-in demand for accessible websites.
  • Generate goodwill. By offering an accessible website, a business or organization demonstrates its social and moral responsibility.
  • Improve the website experience for everyone. Accessible features such as uncluttered pages, simple content and easy navigation will be appreciated by all digital users.

The use of technology is critical to our daily lives. Let’s work together for people with disabilities to make sure it creates opportunities, not obstacles.