Make Your Web Content Accessible To All

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

New Rules of Marketing and PR  |  Buyer Persona  |  Sales Strategies  |  Marketing  |  Best Practices

An image from the Web Accessibility Initiative illustrating people of various abilities. As you create web content for marketing purposes, a great strategy is to think like your buyer personas and generate written content, videos, images, and audio especially for them. As you do so, keep in mind that a variety of people with a wide range of abilities use the Web.

The more accommodating you are to people with disabilities and other potential inclusion needs, the more fans you will generate. While keeping in mind that different users will interact with what you create is good business, more importantly, including everyone is the right thing to do!

You should shape your content in a way that accounts for differences in hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability. There is way more to learn about this important topic than this short article so to learn more about accessibility, you might visit the Web Accessibility Initiative.

If you have not already begun the process of shifting to an accessibility perspective in your content creation work, or if you’d like a basic overview of important principles, here are some elements to consider:

  • The Web allows many people to connect online who can’t, for whatever reason, do so in person. This group includes many people with disabilities. Understanding this distinctive characteristic of online audiences, and how they may differ from in-person audiences, is especially important.
  • A large percentage of people browse websites primarily or exclusively on a mobile device. Therefore, you need to build your website in a mobile-friendly way, with features that work across all platforms and browsers. Navigation drop downs, for example, should work for people who access the site via a computer and those who access via their smartphone or tablet.
  • You may have readers who aren’t native speakers of your organization’s primary language(s). Limiting jargon and colloquialisms can help these readers better understand your content. If large numbers of existing or potential customers aren’t comfortable in your site’s primary language, you should consider developing a multi-language design.
  • Some people may not be comfortable with difficult features, such as complicated airline or hotel reservations systems. Providing an alternative way to book, perhaps via telephone or email, can help. Be as specific as you can about what information is required when signing up by these alternative means.
  • Try to provide clear buttons with a lot of space to click or tap. Avoid those horrible dropdown menus that require mouse hovering and other gestures that are potentially difficult for people who struggle with fine motor movements.
  • People with aural, visual, or other sensory disabilities should be able to access your content. Your videos should include accurate subtitles for those who cannot hear well, and you should post podcast transcripts along with the audio files. Similarly, offering detailed, accurate image descriptions for graphics is important for people with visual impairments, who access the Web using screen readers.
  • In some developing countries, and in rural areas of developed countries, broadband coverage may be spotty or nonexistent. Therefore, it’s best to avoid graphics with large file sizes or other elements that are difficult to load in low-connectivity areas.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about the wide variety of people who may interact with your content.

The more accommodating you are to their needs, the better.

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