“If you don’t design for accessibility, it’s like saying to every fifth person who walks in your door, ‘I don’t really want your business.’” – Bert Floyd, Team Lead of Assistive Technologies, TD Bank, Canada
Accessibility is about designing an experience to meet everyone’s needs, including those with disabilities. In marketing, those experiences happen anywhere users can interact with your brand, such as websites, emails, or even trade shows, to name a few. Without designing for inclusion, your marketing simply can’t fully serve the more than one billion people worldwide who have disabilities.
What Is Accessible Marketing?
Accessible marketing is the use of inclusive design practices that make it possible for users of all abilities to fully experience the brand, receive and understand communication, and take advantage of opportunities to engage with and become fans of the brand, services, or products.
It matters because brands that leverage accessibility in their marketing expand their reach to potential customers, grow their businesses, and have a positive impact on their audience and in their markets. They may also achieve compliance and legal requirements, which exist in many countries.
How Should You Consider Disabilities as You Design for Accessible Marketing?
The World Health Organization defines disability as a mismatch between the needs of an individual and a product, service, or social structure. In other words, the demands of the environment do not align with the abilities of the individual; therefore, it becomes an accessibility problem.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all disabilities are permanent. They can be temporary or situational as well. But whether someone’s disability is permanent, temporary, or situational, the method in which the marketing is delivered needs to be considered.
Accessible marketing meets the needs of various disabilities, including impairments in mobility, vision, hearing, speech, and cognition. For example, someone with vision impairment would need audio descriptions of your videos to understand the content being presented. Individuals with hearing impairments require captions on that video, so they can read about what’s happening.
If you really think about it, there are many opportunities to design our marketing to be accessible to everyone. In fact, when you design for inclusion, you make it possible for all users to benefit.
Examples of Successful Accessible Marketing
Melbourne Student Life is an excellent example of accessibility in marketing. The government website allows users to experience what it’s really like to live in Melbourne, complete with accessibility features. Alternate text and screen reader compatibility is available with every video, image, and sound on the site. Plus, users can interact with every part of the website using only a keyboard or mouse.
Social Media Accessibility
Nick Lewis Design makes social media marketing accessible by labeling his content for better communication. After all, colors have different meanings in other cultures– and some individuals are colorblind– so labels help clarify the message in this social media post.
Email Marketing Accessibility
These side-by-side emails from Wandr were showcased in an article from MyEmma. In the example on the left, you see text overlapping the header image, which can be difficult for some viewers to read. In the example on the right, the text has been shifted underneath the header image, making it easier to read. This is a great example of successful accessible marketing.
Marketing accessibility matters for the sake of all users and brands. It helps the two connect in ways they haven’t been able to before while meeting the needs of users everywhere. Consider the benefits of accessible marketing or inclusive marketing in your organization as you plan your future strategies.
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