How to Increase Digital Accessibility?
We’ve compiled some tips for improving digital accessibility. All of these steps are simple and can be put into practice easily right now. It won’t take long for them to become natural when producing website content!
What is Digital Accessibility?
Digital accessibility is the practice of designing and developing digital content, applications, and tools for people with physical disabilities and visual impairments to access without problem.
Digital accessibility involves using design and development techniques that are inclusive of people with disabilities. This includes:
- providing text alternatives for non-text content such as images and videos
- creating captions and transcripts for multimedia content
- designing content
- ensuring that the content is compatible with assistive technologies.
Why Prioritize Digital Accessibility?
Digital accessibility promotes inclusion, innovation, better user experience, and corporate social responsibility. Making digital content accessible to everyone creates a more inclusive and equitable digital environment.
- Inclusion: Digital accessibility ensures that people with disabilities are able to access information, products, and services online. By making digital content accessible to people with disabilities, we create a more inclusive digital environment that benefits everyone.
- Compliance: In many countries, there are legal requirements for digital accessibility. For example, in the United States, the websites of certain entities should be accessible under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). By complying with these regulations, organizations avoid legal risks and ensure they are not discriminating against people with disabilities.
- Innovation: Digital accessibility leads to innovation and new business opportunities. Designing accessible digital content lets organizations tap into a large and often overlooked market segment.
- Better user experience: Digital accessibility benefits everyone, not just people with disabilities. For example, providing captions for videos benefit people who are not fluent in the language of the video. Also, designing content that is navigable through keyboard-only access benefits users who prefer not to use a mouse.
- Corporate social responsibility: By ensuring digital accessibility, organizations demonstrate that they value diversity and inclusion.
What Does Lack of Digital Accessibility Cause?
- Exclusion of people with disabilities: People with disabilities have trouble accessing information, services, and products that are available to others. This leads to social exclusion, marginalization, and discrimination.
- Legal liability: In some countries, digital accessibility is required by law. Organizations that fail to comply may face legal liability. This results in fines, legal fees, and damage to reputation.
- Decreased user satisfaction: Users become frustrated, disengaged, and dissatisfied with the organization or product. This results in decreased user loyalty and revenue.
- Reduced market share: Organizations may lose out on a significant market share that is disabled people. This reduces revenue and limits growth opportunities.
- Negative impact on search engine optimization (SEO): Digital accessibility issues negatively impact search engine optimization, as search engines prioritize content that is accessible to all users. This results in decreased visibility and traffic to a website.
What is Digital Experience Analytics?Digital Experience Analytics (DXA) is a field that involves the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data related to user experiences across digital channels, such as websites, mobile apps, and social media. DXA allows organizations to gain a deeper understanding of how users interact with their digital channels and how they improve the overall digital experience.
How to Increase Digital Accessibility?To increase digital accessibility, there are several methods used:
- Using accessibility guidelines,
- Embedding accessibility organizational culture,
- Incorporating visuals,
- Providing alternative text,
- Producing multimodal campaigns,
- Using clear and simple language,
- Using captions and transcripts,
- Adding subtitles to videos,
- Celebrating diversity,
- Using keyboard accessibility,
- Checking contrast,
- Testing for accessibility,
- Following the guidelines specified by each platform,
- Providing user support,
- Using Alt Text for imagery for Screenreaders,
- Testing digital campaigns.
What is Using Accessibility Guidelines?
Use established accessibility guidelines such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to ensure that your digital content is accessible to people with disabilities.
What is Embedding Accessibility in Organizational Culture?
When digital accessibility is adopted throughout the organization, it is not only baked into policies and processes. Digital accessibility is also integral in hiring practices, continuity of operations planning, procurement, project planning, communications, office layout, team building, community initiatives, etc. It becomes an organizational shift from the top down rather than a task or function for an individual department.
What is Incorporating Visuals?
The use of images is becoming more prevalent on social media platforms. Using high-quality, branded imagery in a campaign boosts its effectiveness while increasing brand knowledge and familiarity. Visual information is conveyed to the brain 90% of the time, and pictures are processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than words. This allows you to communicate with your audience clearly and quickly. Furthermore, graphics are more likely to have emotional meaning, assisting you in achieving relevance and boosting the likelihood that your audience will have a genuine connection to your message, resulting in the attainment of your objectives.
What is Providing Alternative Text?
Provide alternative text for images, videos, and other multimedia content so that people who are visually impaired understand the content.
What is Producing a Multimodal Campaign?
People have varying degrees of ability when interacting with digital media. For example, those who are short of sight may require a screen reader or magnifier, and those who are hard of hearing may need subtitling options. These inclusions are necessary to facilitate an equal browsing experience, and without them, it could create a barrier that prevents users with impairments from interacting. As such, it’s crucial not to overlook the importance of proper accessibility for your campaign. To ensure that your digital campaign is accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities, create content in a range of different formats. By making sure that visual and audio elements have established equivalents, such as captions and transcripts, all users consume your content and learn from it in a way that works for them.
What is Using Clear and Simple Language?
Use clear and simple language to ensure that your content is easy to understand for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.
What is Using Captions and Transcripts?
Use captions and transcripts for videos and other multimedia content to make them accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
What is Adding Subtitles to Videos?
Most marketers are well used to making excellent video presentations for use on websites and social media in this age, and great care is put into their production of them. However, these videos are of limited use to people with hearing disabilities.
What is Celebrating Diversity?
Digital campaigns and advertising often portray picture-perfect models who are un-relatable to any audience. The percentage of disabled models used in campaigns is slim to none. The campaign should be inclusive and show various types of people to make people with disabilities feel included and that the brand cares for their needs and presence.
What is Using Keyboard Accessibility?
Make sure your website and digital tools are accessed and used via a keyboard, as this is a common way for people with mobility disabilities to navigate the web.
What is Checking Contrast?
One of the quickest ways to make your campaigns accessible and inclusive is to use a tool like webaim.org to check the contrast of your campaign colors. When there is not enough contrast, like a light blue text color on a white background, it makes visibility difficult for both humans and screen readers.
What is Testing for Accessibility?
Use automated testing tools and manual testing methods to check the accessibility of your website and digital content.
What is Following the Guidelines Specified by Each Platform?
It’s very important to follow the guidelines specified for the platforms for which you’re creating content. Some platforms may have accessibility features that make it easier to create digital content. For example, YouTube has a feature for closed captioning videos and a special site for people with disabilities that allows for a faster response time. There are many other ways to improve digital campaigns so that they’re accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities.
What is Providing User Support?
Provide user support for people with disabilities, such as dyslexia or low vision, to ensure that they access your digital content.
What is Using Alt Text for Imagery for Screenreaders?
Whether you’re publishing images on a landing page or social media as part of your digital campaign, use alt text to describe the image you’re posting. Internet users who are blind or visually impaired may use a screen reader to access the content. With alt text in place for the images, the screen reader will be able to audibly read out your alt text description of the image being used.
Social media platforms Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram have incorporated options to add alt text when uploading images on their platform. A website will usually have the option to add alt text within the content management system or the tags are coded in manually.
What is Testing Your Digital Campaign?
Always test your digital campaign with a neurodiverse individual. When writing copy, write it from the perspective of someone who is blind or visually impaired. That way you’ll be sure to avoid unnecessary jargon and tricky acronyms that are hard to decipher. The same goes for video content. It is difficult to understand if the audio is poor quality or lacks captions. If you want to accurately convey your message, prioritize audio quality and captioning.
Using tools such as colorblindness simulators and compliance management software to make sure your business is aligned with digital accessibility standards and applicable laws.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Increase Your Website Accessibility?
Running an accessibility awareness campaign for your website and creating accessible content is very important.
Use personas: Using personas of people with situational, temporary, and permanent disabilities will help you to understand the diverse needs of your customers. Conduct user testing on your website or app using people with disabilities when possible.
Simplify language: Try to ensure you simplify the language as much as possible so your content is accessible to as many people as possible.
Color contrast: Ensuring you have good color contrast makes content easier to read for people with low vision and also for any users accessing your webpage or app when out in the sunshine.
What is Digital Inclusion?
Digital inclusion refers to the practice of ensuring that everyone has access to digital technologies, such as the internet and digital devices, and the skills and knowledge to use them effectively.
Digital inclusion involves addressing both the access and skills barriers to using digital technologies. Access barriers include a lack of physical infrastructure, such as broadband internet, or the cost of digital devices and services. Skills barriers include a lack of knowledge or training on how to use digital technologies effectively.
By promoting digital inclusion, everyone gets equal opportunities to access and benefit from the digital world. This leads to greater social and economic inclusion, better education and healthcare outcomes, and improved civic engagement and democratic participation.