Working in a digital marketing agency means that your work product is made easily available to the whole world wide web with just the click of a mouse on an “update” button, right? Not if you aren’t producing content that meets website accessibility standards! For individuals who are living with disabilities, the web is not as accessible as it could, and should, be.
In this blog, we discuss why accessibility is an important component of digital marketing, and what digital marketers can do to ensure that their content and design choices are more accessible. We also share some of the valuable accessibility information we gathered at the 2019 Web Accessibility Summit that took place in Campaignium’s hometown of Springfield, MO.
What Is Web Accessibility?
According to Derek Featherstone, the CEO of Level Access and a speaker at the 2019 Web Accessibility Summit, web accessibility refers to content and other features that have “the ability to be accessed or readily used by people with disabilities.” In short, accessibility is about ensuring that everyone has the ability to access content. During his talk, Derek stated that inclusion is also a key aspect of accessibility and asked content creators and designers to consider inclusion as a “core value.” This means that your digital marketing company should be actively working to meet and exceed accessibility standards.
Why Does Accessibility Matter?
So, why does accessibility matter? Well, for one, implementing web accessibility measures will protect your clients. If you work with higher education institutions or retailers, you are probably aware that accessibility-related lawsuits have occurred in recent years. Amazon, McDonalds, Grubhub, Harvard, MIT, and even Netflix and Hulu are some notable companies that have been impacted by ADA-related lawsuits. As digital marketers, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we are aware of legal parameters related to our industry.
Second, it’s good for business. Creating accessible content can help give search engines more context about your site’s offerings. Clients who are good about keeping their finger on the pulse of the digital marketing world will also expect that your agency is keeping up with the accessibility standards set by W3C.
Last, but most definitely not least, it is the right thing to do. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 adult Americans live with a disability. To put that into perspective, that’s about 61 million Americans. Everyone deserves equal access to the web, applications and social media platforms.
Who Benefits From Web Accessibility?
While many people think of those who are living with vision or hearing impairments as the primary individuals who might be impacted by web accessibility, they are not alone. There are a number of individuals who are also affected, including:
- The visually impaired or the blind: Those with colorblindness, who are blind, or who have ocular issues. These individuals commonly use screen readers to access online information.
- Individuals with learning or developmental disabilities: Individuals with “invisible disabilities” like ADHD, dyslexia, or processing deficiencies. These individuals may use transcripts and captions to better break down information.
- Individuals with mobility or dexterity disabilities: Those who are living with conditions like muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida. Common accessibility tools that are utilized by these individuals include screen readers and assistive technologies.
- The deaf/hearing impaired: These individuals normally utilize accessibility tools like transcripts and captions.
What Accessibility Measures Can Digital Marketers Take?
Designers, videographers, developers and content creators should consider the following:
Designers & Developers:
- You should implement page elements with an understanding of “extreme” accessibility scenarios. Try using the “staw test” to test your forms and pages.
- Keep tasks in mind when designing a page, document or form fill. What action do you want users to take? Does your design convey that clearly?
- Try to avoid huge amounts of white space or text chunking.
- Use diverse colors and textures instead of just flat colors.
- Is there a way to condense visual or written information?
- How readable is your content? If it isn’t super accessible, consider simplifying it.
- Educate yourself on or re-familiarize yourself with the P.O.U.R. web content accessibility guidelines.
- Remember to use alt-tags wherever possible. If you’re writing a blog or a web page that uses imagery, go ahead and include an alt-tag!
- Write for your reader, and remember, 36 million adult Americans have limited English, reading, or math skills. Write compassionately.
Videographers & Photographers:
- Use alt-attributes wherever possible.
- Captions & transcripts are extremely impactful.
Social Media Managers:
- Most social media platforms allow you to add alt-text.
- Be careful about how many emojis you use! Sometimes they can overpower the content and can cause issues for screen readers.
- Make your captions descriptive and make sure they work with your alt-text to add context.
Regardless of your role within a digital marketing agency, you can make a difference when it comes to accessibility. Become an accessibility advocate. Explain why web accessibility is impactful and why it is necessary. Your clients will thank you, and so will the diverse community of users who come into contact with your content!
Campaignium’s Commitment To Accessibility
Although we know we have a long way to go in terms of accessibility education and implementation, Campaignium is eager to dedicate time and energy toward researching accessibility. We understand how impactful this issue is, and we want to ensure that we are taking measures to introduce alt-attributes, distinctive hierarchies and other accessibility features into our current and future content. If you are interested in working with a digital marketing company that is committed to accessibility, contact us online today, or give us a call at 417-413-4899.