Ever scoured the internet for something important? Maybe you’re looking for health information, a refrigerator part, or a nearby restaurant to take a high-profile client. You spend a few hours looking for the perfect solution, and when you finally find what you’re looking for, you attempt to click for more information. Frustratingly, your screen is suddenly filled with illegible text, indecipherable images, and a series of pop-ups that don’t make sense.
This is what a normal day in the life of a disabled web user looks like. Every online interaction is subject to unforeseen barriers, complications, and exclusion. Instead of easily accessing the information they need to complete a purchase, contact a service, or gain more information, they’re met with misaligned web useability and content designed for non-disabled customers only.
As brilliant, creative small business owners, we can do better. Small business owners are organically devoted to their customers, and by nature, our goal is to provide the best products and services to the greatest number of people. Designing for accessibility makes your website, social media, and content understandable and appealing to the largest possible audience, thereby connecting your small business to heavier income streams and a better return on your investment. Designing for accessibility isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also the most profitable.
Accessibility Features for Branding
A well-rounded brand embraces diversity and is easily understood by all members of your target audience. Branding, by nature, benefits from being easily recognizable in a variety of digital environments and should elicit positive feelings from your customers regardless of individual impairment or disability. Enhance your brand and open your business up to wider audiences by implementing a few of the following accessibility strategies:
- Keep branding elements high-contrast and ensure color is not the only source of information
- Choose fonts with conventional letterforms, plenty of space between letters and/or characters, and good height difference between lowercase and uppercase letters
- Consider using Atkinson Hyperlegible font, the Braille Institute’s recommended font for the visually impaired
- Keep brand images and elements easy to read by utilizing good spacing and sizing while also providing accessible versions of documents, such as brochures or presentations, in formats that can be easily read by assistive technology
- Design accessible marketing materials by using an off-white, dull-finish, smooth, heavy paper, simple folds only when necessary, left-aligned text, and ample negative space
Accessibility Features for Web Development
Your small business webpage is one of the most important places to design for accessibility. You want your visitors to have a positive experience when visiting your page, and the more you provide for their needs, the more likely you’ll earn their trust and money. Open accessibility to your website’s information, products, and services by implementing some of these web development accessibility features:
- Alt text for images
- Careful color choices – aim for high contrast
- Underline links and use color-changing text when users interact with menus
- Confirm web forms are readable by screen readers
- Keep HTML elements clean and separate from text
Accessibility Features for Your Social Media Profiles
Social media is one of the most popular places for people with disabilities to network and stay connected to family and friends. Disabled web users can connect with one another in specialized social media disability groups, through advocacy pages, and through social media chat and video functions. Some of the largest social media platforms recognize the need for accessibility tools and offer automatic accessibility options for their users. Open your social media content up to the over 1 billion strong globally disabled population by adjusting your social media content to better serve every user.
- Provide video, Reel, and TikTok captions
- Descriptive image text
- Video descriptions or live-described videos (used in conjunction with captions to describe more than just the words being spoken)
- Camel case for multi-word hashtags
- Avoid emojis and special characters in captions and posts
Accessibility Features for Content and Copy
Content drives the meaning behind your entire digital presence. You want your customers to easily understand your business through precise, appealing language and creative copy that captures customers and cash. Secure a diverse, expansive audience by tailoring your content to meet your clients where they’re at and keep inclusion top of mind when crafting web copy, e-newsletters, and blog posts.
- Incorporate personas with varying demographics and abilities
- Avoid ableist language (phrases like, “fallen on deaf ears,” “crazy,” “stupid,” or “turning a blind eye”)
- Stick with neutral pronouns
- Check content for assumptions about a reader’s viewpoint or demographics
- Use descriptive call-to-actions that are easily read by screen readers
Accessibility Features for SEO
Do you know what Google likes more than anything in the world? Happy search customers. Google wants their users to find websites that provide answers and positive user experiences. They prioritize sites they believe provide the best user experiences both in terms of accessibility and the ability to resolve inquiries. Tap into the accessibility needs of all web users to organically improve your digital brand’s SEO and watch your website rise within Google’s results list.
- Use clean, comprehensible sitemaps for easy user navigation and search engine indexing
- Descriptive alt text provides both keywords for SEO and context for disabled users
- Proper page links and title tags boost keywords and accessibility at the same time
By implementing a few simple tweaks and accessibility strategies, your small business can instantly improve its digital reach and provide for a statistically significant (and profitable) population of web users. Interested in learning which accessibility features and tools make the most sense for your business? Contact GreenCup Digital here to learn more about our web design, social media, content, and SEO services. Together we’ll explore designing for accessibility to help optimize your digital brand and ensure your reach (and revenue!) extends to its full potential.