Digital Accessibility is starting to show up more and more in marketing conversations. It’s certainly a hot button issue in the US, where we are having more and more public discourse about representation online. People of all different races, gender identities, religions, and neuro diversities are making themselves heard.
But what IS digital accessibility and what does it mean for you and your business?
Essentially, digital accessibility means that people with disabilities such as hearing loss, impaired vision, or other physical barriers are still able to navigate the internet and various digital spaces with relative ease. For example, think how difficult it can be to keep up with all the written articles, tweets, and blogs about breaking news for blind people. Digital accessibility is simply people who create content being conscious of making their content available to everyone and not assuming the abilities of their audience.
Digital accessibility is more important than ever as more and more people get online. According to We Are Social’s 2021 report, 59.5% of people worldwide are online.
The World Health Organization reports that 15% of people in the world are disabled. That’s hundreds of millions of people! Not only should we cater our content to people of all abilities to ensure we are equitable online, but it’s also a huge audience your business could miss out on connecting with if you don’t tailor your content.
Sometimes when we hear about a big issue like this that affects so many people, it’s easy for us to feel powerless. If you own a salon in Georgia, or an Etsy shop in New Jersey, how are you supposed to fix the problems with digital accessibility? It can feel overwhelming at times, but change happens by all of us doing our part. Here are a few small changes you can make this week to make your content more accessible for everyone!
Use Alternative Text
If you’re new to website design, you may not know what alternative text means. Put simply, it’s including a description of any images or graphics you’re featuring. Many website building platforms have this feature as an option when you’re designing your webpages. For example, Zym’s design feature allows you to insert all your alternative text when you’re building your website right from our platform! You can also add alt text at the bottom of your Facebook or Instagram posts.
Adding alternative text to your content makes it easier for people who may be using a text-to-speech program to browse the internet. If someone is blind or visually impared and can’t see your photos or Canva designs, including alt text means they can still understand what you’re featuring even if they can’t view it.
Always Turn on Captions
Adding closed captions to your audio/video content is one of the easiest ways to make your digital platforms more accessible. For people who have hearing loss, it’s a way for them to still engage with your content without missing out on any elements of your post. Not only are captions more accessible, but the data shows that it actually also increases your view count on social media videos! It’s a win-win scenario. Many platforms like YouTube have an option to automatically caption your videos, which is a quick and easy option. However, if you have the time it never hurts to double check those auto-captions. Their systems aren’t always perfect and it makes your messaging clearer when you can fix any mistakes the bots may have made when transcribing your work.
Use Accessible Color Combos
Alternative text and closed captions may seem like pretty common sense options to be digitally accessible. But the trick is in the details! Sometimes little things like the colors you choose for your posts can make a huge difference. Think to yourself when you look at your latest design; are these colors clear? Is this post easy to read? If I were visually impaired, would I be able to view this with as little difficulty as possible? A good rule of thumb is to use large, dark text with a light background. Don’t use two colors that are too close to each other when doing a post with text- for example a red background with pink text. And try to pick a font that’s simple to view. Sometimes these small changes can make the biggest difference!
At the end of the day, being more digitally accessible will increase your views and get your content to more potential customers. But it’s about more than making another sale; it’s about ensuring that the internet is a place where people have equal access to everything. Taking the time to make these adjustments to your digital space means you are doing your part to normalize making the internet a fairer place. When we all make little changes, we make a huge difference together.
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