Are You Thinking of Improving your Website Accessibility in 2023?

By Paroma Sen, Director-Strategy at ITechSeries/MarTechSeries

Did you know that web accessibility can play a vital role in creating better online communities that can sustain users with different kinds of disabilities, small or big. In a digital first world, where brands do sustain a fair amount of remote workers, many of them can be those with some kind of differently-abled feature. Besides keeping in mind that remote workers can be differently-abled it is also important to factor in that many of today’s digital and online users will have some type of difficulty or disability as well.

A good web accessibility framework can make web navigation easy for everyone because it ensures that the flow of any digital or web content on a website is easy to consume by users despite any disabilities they may have.

Busting a Few Myths

While ADA compliance can help brands understand what they need to do to build more differently-abled web content and websites, often times, brands do not jump onto the bandwagon fearing that it might lead to additional or unnecessary costs.

In reality, planning your web content flow to make it more ADA compliant is not necessarily an expensive affair.

Another common misconception is that an ADA compliant website may impact page load times, which in fact is quite the opposite.

Having an audio version of your text-format whitepaper for instance, can allow those with slight or major vision problems to consume the content in an easier manner while also allowing other users who don’t necessarily have any disability to consume the content on-the-go, thereby adding to overall brand benefits.

Starting with the Basics

There is a lot that can be done when a brand is trying to make their web content or website more ADA compliant.

For brands that have never worked on ADA compliance, starting with a few basics like the ones below can help:

Pay Attention to Colors

Brand marketers are always going to be a little sensitive about their brand logos and colors and this will impact how collaterals and other assets like whitepapers / ebooks are designed.

In truth, colors can play a very important role in promoting brand and website accessibility due to the fact that many users today will have some sort of sight disability to deal with. This can even include something as common as color blindness. According to Clinton Eye, 1 in 12 men are color blind (8%), 1 in 200 women are color blind (0.5%).

Some types of text-design-color combinations will therefore not be as easily consumable by this segment of the digital world.

To meet some basic AA standards, text and interactive elements should have a strong color contrast ratio – paying attention to how bright or dark colors appear on a screen – of at least 4.5:1 (7:1 for AAA minimum).

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Keep a Healthy Mix of Text-Audio-Video Content For Most Brand Assets

The demand for audio-video content has grown over the years, making it crucial for B2B marketers to also sport a healthy mix of written blogs, audio content like podcasts and video content like webinars/virtual events.

One of the good benefits of this is – a healthy mix of multi-media can help serve ADA compliance purposes. The fundamentals of web accessibility requires that online web content is built to suit most users despite any problems they may have.

Making all brand assets more inclusive can not only boost a brand’s reputation, it helps cater to a larger audience need.

The first steps can mean having alt text included as part of every image so that users who depend on screen readers to browse only content can understand what that image is all about, if they can’t see it.

Including captions (in a local language if possible) for audio-video content is also good way to boost inclusive content and allow more users to consume the content despite having vision, hearing or other types of problems.

Focus on Better Overall Readability

Today’s marketplace is not just a digital-first ecosystem but is largely also mobile-first. This makes it important for marketers to pay more attention to fonts, text size, spacing and other similar factors. When optimizing content for web, it just takes one more step to add a few more parameters to the process to boost readability for those who are differently-abled.

In line with ensuring that most content is a mix of audio-video-text with proper transcripts and descriptions is a start. Focusing on letter size is one other key aspect here, attention to character spacing is another – but this is something that content marketers anyway usually look into before publishing their key assets.

End Note – Optimizing Online Web Content to Meet Different-Reader Needs is Not that Difficult

Online marketers should take note that online web accessibility or digital inclusion does not require brands to build ramps for wheelchairs, or build handicap spots for different purposes. It is actually far easier for digital marketers to comply with ADA standards and boost online inclusivity then it is for brands who want to be inclusive through physical efforts due to them having in-store or retail presences.

Brands who adopt inclusivity from the top to bottom and make it a standard across functions are those that have differently-abled friendly workspaces besides having concepts built for their differently abled end customers. This is a whole other ball game.

Web accessibility can be achieved starting with a few basics and brands can take it further as they grow along the way.

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