How Brands Can Prioritize Website Accessibility
By Chelsea Lindner
In today’s highly digital world, it’s more important than ever for brands to design their websites to be accessible and inclusive to all. When websites and applications have barriers to usage it can often cause consumers to seek alternatives, which can have real financial and brand reputational consequences.
Some of the simplest solutions to making your website accessible are:
- Avoid long sentences: Try to keep the average sentence length of your content around 20–25 words. Run-on sentences can cause confusion and reduce the readability of your site
- Optimize the color palette: There should be a stark difference in the color of your font and background. Make sure the text stands out and is easy to read. Red and green color blindness is the most common, so avoid mixing the two colors, if possible
- Ensure reading level aligns with the audience: The average website visitor reads on an 8th grade or below level (this may vary depending on your industry and audience). Keep this in mind to keep readers engaged with your content and decrease bounce rates. Avoid the use of jargon and buzzwords to prevent confusion and miscommunication.
These measures help to provide users a positive experience while on your website, thus creating trust between the consumer and the brand, and the likelihood of building a positive reputation for your brand.
In a survey carried out by Intuit, nearly 26% of website developers responded they do not emphasize accessible web design. When your website is not accessible it can cause a disconnect between the brand and its audience. Additionally, with nearly one billion people in the world having some form of disability, this presents an even more convincing argument to prioritize website accessibility. Non-accessible websites can exclude literally millions of people.
For most consumer-facing companies, the top goal is to grow brand awareness and revenues. However, It’s becoming increasingly important that a company’s internal marketing team considers accessibility as a critical part of web design. Especially given that most customers use the internet and social media to inquire about products, make a purchase, and form an opinion on the brand.
In addition to providing training and professional development for your marketing team, there are also products out there that will scan your website and provide feedback on what areas you can improve.
Our client Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and assistive technology, created a product for an all-in-one digital inclusion solution. This product, ReachDeck, improves the accessibility, readability, and reach of your online audience. ReachDeck’s toolkit includes an auditor, editor, and toolbar.
The auditing tool, which quickly and easily scans your entire site, looks for various issues within your site. For example, failure to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliance. These are an internationally recognized set of guidelines for digital accessibility. If your company website does not meet these standards, you are exposing your business to potential legal risks. The auditor also suggests improvements to enhance readability and identifies broken links.
The editor feature allows you to improve the quality and accessibility of your content. For example, if you are a healthcare company, your target audience likely consists of doctors, scientists, and other medical professionals. It is also likely that the use of medical jargon words and the overall reading level may be higher than that of a clothing brand’s website with a target audience of millennials (who are a much larger demographic that make up nearly 22% of the US population).
Finally, ReachDeck allows you to add a customizable toolbar to your website to allow visitors to access your content in a way that best suits them. With customization options like text-to-speech, reading, and translation support, this component of ReachDeck is great for reaching individuals with disabilities and language barriers, and can also be assistive for an older-aged audience.
Whether you emphasize accessibility with your marketing team, hire an agency that does it for you, or use a product like ReachDeck, it must be a priority within your website design strategy. Ensuring an inclusive experience for your entire audience helps to create a positive brand reputation and a trusting client-consumer relationship, in which the consumer feels safe and equal.
From large, complex websites to microsites to mobile applications, Zer0 to 5ive’s creative and web development teams specialize in creating award-winning, user-friendly websites that engage prospects and convert visitors. Contact us if you’re looking to launch or reinvigorate your website and we will be happy to assist in helping you reach your goals!