Imagine not getting access to important information online because you have a disability. This is what happens with more than 26.8 million* people in India.
According to the United Nations and World Health Organisation, 15% of the population has some type of disability. If you could make some simple changes to your site that would benefit this percentage of people, would you do it? No-brainer, right?
By implementing practices for digital accessibility, businesses can offer a better user experience on digital mediato people with disabilities. Although digital accessibility has been a priority for many companies in recent years, there is still a long way to go.
What is digital accessibility?
Digital accessibility is vital for creating a truly inclusive world. For people with disabilities, this means equal access to online education, healthcare, employment, and eCommerce. This also includes equal access to social growth and digital mediain the age of social media.
Thus, digital accessibility includes breaking down barriers on the internet for people with disabilities. This includes creating websites, apps, or any other tools that are accessible to everyone.
The Web Content Accessibility Guideline for WCAG- the world’s standard reference for most website accessibility-related rules- has set four principles that serve as a guide for producing accessible web content.
This means that elements and information must be perceived by one’s senses, and nothing can be undetectable or invisible.
The interactive elements like the buttons, controls, and so on must be physically operating by clicking, swiping, and scrolling. Voice commands and other assistive devices must be made available.
The information on your website must be presented clearly and easy for the end-user to understand.
The content you put up must be compatible with various technologies, including assistive devices.
These assistive technology tools make navigating a website more accessible and interacting with its content. Examples of these include screen readers, alternative keyboards and trackpads, screen magnifiers, eye-tracking tools, etc. These tools help navigate and interact in an environment that can pose challenges to people with disabilities. Just like wheelchair ramps and Braille signage helps some folks enter, navigate and use physical spaces, digital accessibility helps those with disabilities navigate digital media.
Why is it important?
Apart from making your site accessible to an audience of people with disabilities, digital accessibility can also help differentiate your brand from your competitors by taking your brand message, products, and services to everyone.
Besides reaching a huge range of potential customers, the company will also be seen as a promoter of diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, making it a more humanized brand. And being a digital media marketing company, we can vouch that this is a highly valued topic by consumers.
Digital accessibility also dramatically impacts your site’s performance in search engine optimization (SEO). By providing excellent navigation, you can help in boosting your website’s traffic and user-friendliness.
For users without disabilities, this translates to a better experience on your sire. Think about how many times you have accessed Netflix with closed-captioning as a person without any disabilities. If you have ever enlarged the text on your smartphone, you have enjoyed the benefits of digital accessibility.
So, the removal of barriers will add to your site’s user experience and increase the reach of your content, leading your pages to rank higher.
Accessibility should be part of any digital media company’s marketing equation. It encompasses everything from how a website is developed to the most minor ways people connect to the internet.
What can you do to make the digital space more accessible?
Anyone can make their website more accessible.
For instance, if you are using social media, think about using alt-text (simple image descriptions) to upload photos to Facebook and Instagram. This will make your content accessible to visually impaired people who can engage with it. And this is just a start; there are more simple improvements that you can implement and make a standard from now on.
- Include subtitles in all videos
- Make sure all your non-decorative images contain alt text
- Have text and/or audio options for all non-text content
- Use content that can be presented through several mediums
- Have all functionalities accessible by using the keyboard
- All screen readers to review your website for visually impaired users.
- Write crisp content in plain language.
Investing in digital accessibility will not only help in the SEO for your site or enhance its user experience, but it is also a way to position your company as one that genuinely cares about, supports, encourages, and puts diversity & inclusion into practice.
Thus, Digital accessibility is not only good for the world- but is also a smart business practice for digital media marketing.