In the digital world of today, marketers use several different metrics to see how well their efforts are doing. Often, these measures are about engagement, open rates, click-through rates, lead generation, and traffic. But internet accessibility is an important part that is often forgotten. Not making something accessible can hurt your brand’s image, SEO, and sales. This piece will discuss why digital accessibility is essential for marketers and give tips on making content that works on all digital platforms.
Understanding Digital Accessibility
Digital accessibility involves making websites, applications, and technology accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities. Blindness, low vision, deafness, hearing loss, limited movement, communication impairments, neurological limits, and cognitive limitations are all disabilities. To make a website accessible to persons with impairments, use several design and web development strategies. Ensure sufficient color contrast between text and backdrop to help low-vision readers.
Beyond Accessibility: Additional Benefits
Creating an accessible website has several benefits beyond inclusion. One benefit is better SEO. Websites with accessibility optimization rank higher in search engines. Search engines reward accessible characteristics, including header tags, video transcriptions, picture alt text, detailed link text, and structured content. Accessibility also improves UX. Accessibility gives brands an edge in today’s competitive market, where customer experience is critical. Apple, Google, and Microsoft prioritize digital accessibility to create a next-generation user experience for all populations.
Guidelines for Creating Accessible Marketing Content
It is essential to teach your team about accessible marketing so everyone can use your website and marketing tools. When you make accessible material, you have to think about what people with hearing, sight, motor, and cognitive disabilities need. Here are some rules you should follow:
When creating content for various digital platforms, ensure it is accessible to people with different disabilities. Consider visual, hearing, motor, and cognitive impairments when crafting your content.
To aid users with visual impairments or screen readers, use proper heading tags and follow a logical hierarchy. Utilize headings such as H2, H3, and so on to establish a clear structure and order.
Make your content easy to read and understand. Use short sentences, bulleted lists, and bolded keywords to facilitate scanning. Start with the most essential information and gradually move towards less critical details. Avoid jargon and complex words, and left-align all text, including headlines.
When linking to other web pages, avoid using generic link text like “click here.” Instead, use descriptive link text that indicates where the link leads. This helps users with screen readers or visual impairments understand the association’s purpose.
If you include PDFs, PowerPoints, Word documents, or other file types on your website, ensure they are accessible. Check for accessibility guidelines and consider taking courses on creating accessible files.
Accessible design focuses on creating a user-friendly experience for everyone, not just people with disabilities. Consider the following aspects:
Ensure your videos are accessible by providing subtitles, transcripts, and audio descriptions. Subtitles benefit people with hearing disabilities, while transcripts and audio reports assist blind or visually impaired individuals.
All images should have alt text that describes the content of the picture. Avoid using file numbers or unhelpful information in alt text. For decorative prints, leave the alt attribute empty.
Consider color blindness when using color in your designs. Use patterns, fill, sizing, borders, icons, or whitespace in addition to color to convey information.
Use easily readable fonts, such as sans serif, and limit the number of fonts used on your website. Replace italics with bold and use a font size of at least 12 for readability.
Make your website accessible to visually, hearing, motor, and cognitively impaired users. Take into account:
Ensure keyboard-only navigation on your website. Tab navigation should make menus, buttons, and other navigational components accessible.
Form and Table Labels
Provide clear labels for form fields using the element. Avoid using placeholder text as critical information, and ensure that forms are keyboard accessible. Provide instructions at the top of documents to guide users.
Ensure that your Call to Action (CTA) buttons are accessible by providing an accessible name and using aria-label attributes. Collaborate with your website development team to ensure that CTAs are fully accessible.
Regulations and Compliance
Digital marketers need to be aware of the regulations governing digital accessibility. While rules may vary by country, here are a few major ones:
EU Web Accessibility Directive
The EU Web Accessibility Directive aims to harmonize accessibility requirements for products and services across EU member states. Compliance with this directive is essential for businesses operating in the EU.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
AODA requires organizations in Ontario, Canada, to make their websites and web content compliant with WCAG 2.0 Level AA by a specific deadline. Non-compliance can result in significant fines.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
In the United States, the ADA applies to publicly accessible websites. While there is no defined standard for website accessibility, WCAG 2.0 Level AA is often considered the gold standard.
US federal entities must make their ICT accessible to disabled individuals under Section 508. Standard WCAG 2.0 A and AA compliance is usually required.
Incorporating Accessibility into Your Processes
To prioritize accessibility, integrate it into your digital operations from the start. W3C’s Accessibility Roles and Responsibilities Mapping (ARRM) framework lets organizations assign accessibility duties by roles and competencies. This paradigm provides clarity, ownership, and accountability in accessibility activities.
1. What is digital marketing accessibility?
In marketing, digital accessibility makes websites, emails, and social media accessible to people with disabilities. Visual, auditory, cognitive, and motor deficits are considered.
2. What makes digital accessibility vital for marketers?
Marketers need digital accessibility to reach more people. Everyone can consume accessible content, which boosts engagement, conversion rates, and brand inclusivity.
3. How does digital accessibility help businesses?
Digital accessibility helps businesses in many ways. It boosts their inclusive and socially responsible brand image. It can also increase consumer loyalty, search engine rankings, and legal compliance, lowering litigation risk.
4. What are prevalent digital accessibility issues?
Poorly designed websites, photos without alt text, inaccessible forms, small or illegible fonts, and films without captions or transcripts are digital accessibility hurdles. These hurdles can impede disabled people from fully interacting with content.
5. What practical initiatives can marketers take to promote digital accessibility?
Marketers may boost digital accessibility in numerous ways. These include making websites screen reader-friendly, giving picture alt text, using clear fonts, establishing accessible forms, and captioning or transcribing multimedia material. Make sure you test and audit digital assets for accessibility compliance regularly.
Digital accessibility is not only a matter of social responsibility but also a business imperative. By creating accessible content, marketers can reach a wider audience, improve customer experience, and avoid legal issues. Following guidelines for accessible content creation and staying updated on relevant regulations will enable marketers to create inclusive digital experiences. With accessibility as a core principle, brands can build a more substantial online presence and better serve their customers, regardless of their abilities.