People with disabilities are often left out of marketing, especially social media. Diversity representation is one problem that companies need to address, but technological accessibility is another pressing issue that is often overlooked. Accessibility is a major component of inclusivity; it makes content available to people in the format most convenient for them. Google has optimized its search engine algorithm to favor accessible content, but beyond rankings, you need your marketing to truly be for everyone. Members of your target audience can have a wide range of disabilities that shouldn’t leave them ousted. These tips will help you make your company’s digital marketing efforts more diverse and accessible to people with disabilities.
Include Alt-Text, Subtitles and Transcripts on Every Video and Photo
Use a software that can transcribe video to text quickly; this will allow you to include alt-text and transcripts on all your visual media. People who use screen readers will be able to have your content read to them without missing out on any key information. Alt-text is primarily used for photos, but your videos should also include a description of its content as well as a full transcript.
Address Your Reading Level
Could someone with a lower reading level still benefit from your content? People with developmental disorders, ADHD and learning disabilities often struggle to address large bodies of text with complex words. The Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score can help you optimize your content for a more diverse audience, and content should meet a lower secondary reading level. For U.S. readers, this is typically an 8th grade level. When your content is more advanced and cannot be completely revised, you should offer alternative content that does not require a higher education to understand. Use this free reading score test to check your content, particularly your blog posts, emails and social media captions.
Use Links Wisely
Naturally integrating links into keywords was the common practice, but today, you should not mask links in your text. Be explicit about where a link is, where it heads and what it does. Blind and visually impaired users with screen readers need content to be specified. Their translation software also has a feature that allows users to immediately identify all hyperlinks on a page. If you do not properly hyperlink, then the screen reading software will not tell users what your content links to.
For example, if you only hyperlink the text “click here”, then the screen reader will only translate this as: “Click here (link)”. To understand where this link leads to, a person would have to listen to the entire article rather than skip through and jump to different links. Highlight unique, descriptive keywords that are not duplicates of past hyperlinked content. You can also revise previous articles to have stronger hyperlinks that are optimized for users with disabilities.
Use Headings Wisely
In addition to adding structure to your content’s format, headings also assist people with disabilities. However, it’s common for companies to rely on headings as a way to simply resize or bold their content. This is a bad practice as it can lead to poor navigation and misinformation for your disabled audience members. Here’s how you should be using HTML headings on your website:
- Page and post titles: h1
- Main headings: h2
- Subheadings: h3
Failure to use these headings appropriately can cause screen readers and devices to display information inaccurately. Use text resizing code to scale fonts up or down if they need to be adjusted outside of the heading’s context.
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