There is a large sector of the population who benefit from accessibility, not simply people with disabilities. Undoubtedly, the elderly are one of these groups. There are a number of problems associated with age that, even if not considered a disability, does hinder the use of websites: from the lack of computer knowledge to coordination difficulties.
In Europe, and particularly in Spain, thanks to an improvement in the quality of life and life expectancy, a progressivly aging population is a reality and an unstoppable trend. Currently, 35% of the population is over 65. The most optimistic predictions for Spain estimate that, in 2050, more than 55% of the population will be over the age of 65. In Europe’s case, the rate will be around 40%. This is a huge market opportunity and one that must not be missed because of poorly designed websites.
Disability is not a minor problem in our society. Currently in Europe, one in four people have a relative with a disability and six out of ten have a person with a disability within their circle of acquaintances. According to Eurostat data on European disability in 2001, 14.5% of people aged between 16 and 64 have a disability: 4.5% being considered severe and 10% moderate.
Disabilities affecting Internet use in Spain
In Spain, according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística disabilities study in 2008, there were 3.8 million people with a disability, representing 8.5% of the population. Or put another way, 20% of Spanish households have a disabled member. Of these disabilities, not all affect interaction with web pages but most do, such as vision (2.3%), hearing (2.5%), communication (1.7%) or, partial mobility disability (6%) that may prevent the proper movement of the upper extremities.
By making accessible web pages, not only are these potential customers reached, but also all those surrounding them who may be more sensitive to their problems. In fact, 93% of Europeans would be willing to invest more money in order to remove barriers for people with disabilities.