In our previous post, we talked about why it’s important for marketers to become familiar with accessibility in the digital space.
Now that you’re aware of the vast, untapped market that people with disabilities make up, you’re probably ready to identify and fill the digital accessibility gaps in your brand’s digital properties. There’s still one question, what is accessibility and what does it mean in the digital space?
Web accessibility is more than ensuring people with limited sight or hearing can “read” your website. Complete accessibility means creating a truly seamless experience for your customers and guarantees their return.
Web Accessibility Guidelines: Just The Starting Point
Most developed countries have accessibility standards. The United States has standards such as the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), Section 508 and Section 504. There’s also the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA).
In Canada, there is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and current discussion of creating a Canadians with Disabilities Act, which critics say is long overdue.
The World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are the universally accepted guidelines for digital accessibility, even though the standards and regulations might vary based on geography or industry.
The guidelines are a great starting point for digital marketers. They provide a step-by-step guide for ensuring brand websites are accessible. Marketers can lead the charge by moving beyond the basic guidelines of accommodation to true inclusivity, by integrating assistive technology alongside web accessibility compliance.
Barriers Faced by People with Disabilities
Barriers to a digitally seamless experience can affect people with many different kinds of disabilities, including: auditory, cognitive, physical, visual and speech. In the digital world, some people with disabilities have and use assistive devices and some do not.
If someone is blind or has low vision, they may have technology that helps them “read” the text and images on the page. If your website isn’t coded or designed with accessibility in mind, the technology won’t be able to decipher the site’s content, making it that much harder for the individual to engage with your brand digitally.
If someone has physical or cognitive disabilities, they may need technology to overcome any dexterity or cognitive challenges. By integrating assistive technology into your website, you’re giving these individuals the opportunity to engage with your brand by making it disability-friendly.
Most organizations do have some digital accessibility gaps and now is the time for marketers to fill in those gaps and create a welcoming experience.
Whitepaper: The Jargon Free Guide to Web Accessibility
For a deeper dive into the barriers that prevent digitally seamless experience, and to better understand accessible web design and how it benefits your organization, download our whitepaper where you can learn about:
- Digital accessibility compliance
- How organizations can benefit from ensuring that their digital products are accessible
- How people with disabilities use the web and the barriers they encounter
- A jargon free explanation of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
- Web accessibility tools