In today’s digital age, accessibility is not just a buzzword but a crucial aspect that marketers must prioritize. Digital accessibility refers to designing and developing websites, tools, and technologies that everyone, including people with disabilities, can easily use. By making your marketing materials accessible, you expand your reach to a broader audience and demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity and ethical practices. Here, we will explore the significance of digital accessibility for marketers and provide actionable tips to create accessible marketing materials.
Understanding Digital Accessibility
Digital accessibility lets everyone use digital content, regardless of ability. Blindness, low vision, deafness, hearing loss, limited movement, speech difficulties, neurological limits, and cognitive limitations are considered. Several design and development practices can help disabled users navigate and use an accessible website or digital marketing materials. Use enough color contrast, provide image alt text, and organize information using headers and subheadings.
The Business Case for Digital Accessibility
Accessibility is not just a matter of ethics; it also makes good business sense. More than a billion people worldwide have some disability, making them a big part of the global market. This under-served group has a combined spending power of over $6 trillion worldwide. By neglecting the needs of disabled individuals, businesses risk losing potential customers and revenue. Studies have shown that 80% of people with disabilities have taken their business elsewhere due to poor accessibility. By making your marketing materials accessible, you can tap into this vast market and attract new customers.
SEO Benefits of Accessibility
In addition to expanding your customer base, incorporating digital accessibility into your marketing efforts can positively impact your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Search engines like Google reward websites that prioritize accessibility features such as header tags, descriptive link text, video transcriptions, structured content, and more. Making your website public can help search engines find it. This will help your site increase search results and get more people to visit it independently.
Enhancing User Experience
User experience (UX) is critical in attracting and retaining customers. Consumers today have high expectations regarding the usability and accessibility of digital platforms. Brands like Apple, Google, and Microsoft recognize the importance of digital accessibility and have made it a core priority. By prioritizing accessibility in your marketing materials, you can create a next-generation user experience that differentiates you from competitors. A seamless and inclusive user experience will attract customers and foster loyalty and advocacy.
Guidelines for Accessible Marketing
Creating accessible marketing materials requires a comprehensive understanding of the needs of individuals with disabilities. As a marketer, it is essential to ensure that your content is accessible to people with visual, hearing, motor, and cognitive disabilities. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
It is essential to ensure all users can access the information you write for different digital platforms. To do this, you should use short and clear language, avoid jargon, and organize your material to make it easy to understand. Thoughtfully consider the requirements of people who have trouble seeing, thinking, or hearing.
Properly structuring your content is essential for users with screen readers or other visual impairments. Use headings and subheadings with the appropriate HTML tags (e.g., H1, H2, H3) to create a logical hierarchy. This allows users to navigate through the content quickly and understand its organization.
Make your content easily readable for all users, including those with cognitive disabilities. Use short sentences, bulleted lists, summaries, and bolded keywords to facilitate scanning and comprehension. Start with the essential information and gradually provide additional details.
When linking to other web pages or resources, avoid using generic terms like “click here.” Instead, use descriptive link text that provides users with clear information about the destination or purpose of the link. This helps individuals using screen readers or assistive technologies understand the context and relevance of the association.
If you include links to files such as PDFs, PowerPoints, or Word documents, ensure that these files are accessible as well. Consider taking a free course on creating accessible files to ensure that individuals with disabilities can access the content within these files.
Design Considerations for Accessibility
Accessible design goes beyond accommodating people with disabilities; it focuses on creating a more usable experience for everyone. Here are some design considerations to promote accessibility:
Make your videos accessible by including subtitles, transcripts, and audio descriptions. Subtitles help individuals with hearing impairments or those in noisy environments understand the content. Transcripts provide a text version of the video’s speech, while audio descriptions describe visual elements for individuals with visual impairments.
All pictures should have replacement text (alt text) that tells what the image is of. Screen readers that read the alt text can Assist individuals who are blind or have visual impairments in comprehending the content of a picture. If you want to use the alt value only for appearance, leave it blank.
Consider individuals with color blindness when designing your marketing materials. To convey information, use patterns, fill, sizing, borders, icons, whitespace, and color. Make sure there is enough difference between the colors of the text and the background to make it easier to read.
Choose fonts that are easy to read, particularly sans-serif fonts. Limit the number of fonts used in your marketing materials to maintain consistency. Use a minimum font size of 12 and use bold for emphasis rather than italics, as italics can be difficult for some individuals to read.
Creating an accessible website is crucial for increasing conversions and providing a positive user experience. Consider the following aspects:
Ensure people can use only their keyboards to move around your website. This is especially important for individuals with visual or motor disabilities who cannot use a mouse. Users can quickly tab through menus, buttons, and other navigational elements.
Form and Table Labels
Provide clear labels for all form fields using the element. This ensures that screen readers read the name of each area aloud. Avoid using placeholder text as critical information; provide instructions at the top of the form to guide users in completing it.
Make sure that your call-to-action (CTA) buttons are accessible. Each button should have an accessible name, usually the text displayed on it. Use an aria label to provide additional information to screen readers about the button’s purpose or destination.
Section 508 requires federal agencies in the United States to make their information and communications technology accessible to people with disabilities. Compliance with Section 508 generally aligns with WCAG 2.0 A and AA standards.
1. What is digital accessibility, and why should marketers care?
Digital accessibility makes content and platforms accessible to everyone, including disabled people. Marketers need it to make their content accessible to more individuals, including those with impairments. Marketers may increase client reach and inclusivity by making their digital assets accessible.
2. How does digital accessibility help marketers?
Marketers profit from digital accessibility:
- It lets them access disabled people with unique requirements and preferences to expand their market share.
- Showing diversity boosts brand reputation and customer trust.
- Accessible digital material improves SEO, increasing visibility and rankings on search engine result pages.
3. What are some best practices for ensuring digital accessibility in marketing?
Marketers should adopt best practices for digital accessibility. Alt text for images, captions, transcripts for videos, descriptive link text, adequate color contrast, and accessible website design and development are examples. Marketers should also perform frequent accessibility audits and usability testing to discover and fix accessibility issues.
4. How does digital accessibility impact user experience?
Digital accessibility dramatically affects user experience. Inaccessible websites and digital content can make information difficult for disabled individuals to interpret. Digital accessibility helps marketers provide a smooth user experience, increasing engagement, satisfaction, and conversion rates.
5. Does digital accessibility for marketers have legal requirements?
Many countries have digital accessibility laws. The US Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires websites and digital material to be accessible to disabled people. Accessibility violations can result in lawsuits, fines, and reputational harm. Marketers must know local laws to comply with and avoid legal issues.
Digital accessibility is a moral obligation and a strategic advantage for marketers. By prioritizing accessibility, you can reach a wider audience, improve your website’s SEO, enhance the user experience, and foster long-term customer relationships. Remember to follow accessibility guidelines when creating marketing content, including providing alternative text for images, structuring content with headings, and ensuring keyboard navigation.