When designing content for your business’ social media, newsletters and websites, it’s essential that you consider accessibility. There is no one size fits all approach; everyone is different. Therefore, it is important to consider a range of different access needs including auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech and visual needs and be mindful to avoid reinforcing stigma or bias.
From an audience point of view, accessible content can make users feel valued and involved with your business, and therefore more likely to engage with and share your content. For a business, opening up your content to everyone by considering various access needs helps you reach a much larger audience, increase engagement and can even be good for SEO!
Failing to do so risks excluding people from your digital space, resulting in a more negative user experience which could ultimately impact on your brand’s reputation.
You may recall that we shared some of our top considerations in our September blog for inclusive, accessible content. This included tips for alt text, captions, transcripts, emojis, gifs, hashtags and left aligned text. Here, we share further considerations for businesses who are looking to make their content accessible:
- Colour – Colour is often used to add emphasis, but it should not be the only method to communicate key information on a website, newsletter or an image with text. Other signifiers such as patterns, shapes and size can be used in conjunction with colour to emphasise a message and help people who have difficulty distinguishing between different colours.
- Contrast – Similarly, we need to ensure there is sufficient contrast between colours to make the content easy to understand. Light yellow text on an orange background or dark text on a black background, for example, are going to be difficult to read. A minimum colour contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for regular text and 3:1 for larger text helps people with low vision, colour blindness and users with temporary or situational needs such as being in bright sunlight.
- Links – On social media, try and avoid using URL shorteners as they can make the link destination unclear to users who are using screen reader technology. Within newsletters and on websites, use clear and descriptive link text to tell users where they are going.
- Inclusive language – Before you write copy for social media, in a newsletter or on your website, think about whether your language carries bias, reinforces negative stereotypes or has an inappropriate meaning with regards to ableism, ethnicity or gender. Used right, language can create a safe and respectful online environment for everyone.
- Simplicity – We’re probably all guilty of embellishing content to up the word count and sell our business as the best in the market but keep it simple! Be direct, front load information and use the active voice where possible. This can make content easier to understand for neurodivergent people, users with cognitive access needs and global audiences.
It’s not too late to build and design accessibility into your content planning. It is a continuing process and as more people share their experiences, accessibility and content will progress even further.
Effective Communication is a PR and digital marketing agency based in south Wales and the south west of England. 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