The importance of digital accessibility in marketing and communications

By Anne Claire Forman

As the workplace becomes increasingly virtual, the importance of digital accessibility also continues to grow. Because many companies are operating under a remote model for the near future, digital accessibility should be at the forefront of your marketing concerns.

What is digital accessibility?

Digital accessibility is the practice of making everything digital, from websites to email newsletters, accessible to everyone. This ensures everyone has an equal opportunity to use the internet, including people with disabilities that affect their vision, hearing or motor function. 

Digital accessibility applies to any tools that function using digital technology including software, mobile apps, documents, websites, social media posts and more. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act was introduced in 1990. There are two sections, Title I and Title II, that can apply to businesses. If your website is inaccessible to those with disabilities, you could face a lawsuit or be asked to redesign your website. 

It is best to be proactive and think about digital accessibility now, instead of down the road when you face an issue. 

Why is digital accessibility important?

As of 2015, there were nearly 56.7 million Americans with disabilities. This means that roughly 1 in 5 people in the country have some form of disability. 

A recent study from the Information Technology Innovation Foundation found 92 percent of federal websites fail to meet basic standards of accessibility.

Don’t let your digital presence fall into this majority. Help make sure all members of the population, including those with disabilities, have an equitable internet experience

Examples of digital accessibility 

When most people think about digital accessibility, closed captioning may be the first thing that comes to mind. While closed captions are an important element of digital accessibility in video content, digital accessibility encompasses many more important elements.

According to the Nationwide Digital Accessibility Center, some of the key ways for brands to meet digital accessibility standards are: describing images through alternate text, paying attention to visual contrast, using keyboard shortcuts, including subtitle videos, transcribing audio files and using alternatives to captchas. 

For a comprehensive list of accessibility elements you should consider, check out the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. 

Easy steps towards digital accessibility

Some companies may need to hire an accessibility consultant to help develop guidelines and plans regarding digital presence. 

If you are looking for some easy first steps to take towards digital accessibility, there are many free online resources. 

Color contrast analyzers can help you determine the legibility of text and contrast of visual elements. Siteimprove analyzes your website for any accessibility issues and runs quality insurance checks. Online accessibility analyzers are a great tool to help you improve your digital accessibility. 

How we can help

At 1893 Brand Studio, we can help start your journey toward digital accessibility. Our Graphic Design and Web Development teams can help make sure that your websites and marketing materials are visually appealing and digitally accessible.