From sharing photos and updates with friends and family to consuming news and information, UK adults spend almost 4 hours online everyday according to Ofcom.
Businesses have embraced digital content, and many now connect with their audiences and promote their products or services through their website, newsletters and social media. However, in doing so, some may be unwittingly restricting their reach and excluding audiences if accessibility hasn’t been considered.
According to GCS, around 20% of the UK population have a long-term illness, impairment or disability that affects their vision, hearing, speech, motor or cognitive abilities while the other 80% can also have temporary or situational accessibility needs. So, by building accessibility into your business’ digital content, you could truly open up your content to everyone.
Here are some of our top considerations for inclusive, accessible content:
- Alt text – Alternative text added to images is particularly useful for blind and visually impaired people as their assistive technology can then describe the contents of the image and the message it is conveying. It can be added when uploading images to WordPress websites, newsletter platforms like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor, scheduling tools like Hootsuite and across most social media platforms. Be aware that alt text must be added on Twitter before posting as there is no edit feature like on other platforms and that you can only add or edit alt text on LinkedIn if you are using a desktop.
- Captions – Video content should include captions in a clear font. Not only is captioning more accessible to members of the deaf community, it also helps you engage with users with situational accessibility needs – 85% of video on Facebook is watched without sound! Automatically generated captions using the captions sticker on Instagram stories may not accurately transcribe your audio so check through before posting. Or alternatively, type your own by clicking the Aa text option.
- Transcripts – If you are embedding videos or podcasts onto your website, provide users with the option to view a transcript of the recording. This is particularly helpful for audiences who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Emojis – We all love an emoji but sometimes less is more! Text-to-speech software and screen readers read out a description for every single emoji used so one or two may be better than a long line of emojis.
- Gifs – Gifs are a fun way to communicate on social media but should be tested before you post to check for consistently flashing images or abrupt transitions which could cause migraines or even seizures. In certain circumstances, you might want to include a trigger warning.
- CamelCase – If your hashtag comprises of more than one word, make sure you capitalise the first letter of each word. This allows screen readers to read each word individually rather than as a long and sometimes incoherent string of words.
- Left align text – For website and newsletter content, try and align text to the left rather than justified formatting. Other useful ways to structure your content to help people, including those with cognitive conditions, is to follow a logical order and use clear headings.
It’s not too late to review where your business currently is and build accessibility into your planning so you can keep everyone included in your digital content. It is a continuing process and as more users share their experiences, accessibility and content can progress even further.
At Effective, we help businesses manage their digital media through many ways, including:
- Audit of existing activity, performance and results, leading to recommendations
- Content creation and distribution for multiple platforms
- Planning and scheduling of content
- Monthly reporting to gauge engagement
- Bespoke training sessions through our Effective Academy.