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Why is accessibility important? Your guide to creating accessible content


May 12, 2021

When it comes to online content, there’s no ‘one size fits all’. Users of websites and social media platforms are as diverse as your brand and the other brands taking steps to persuade and interest them. So why is accessibility important?

Because accessible content will enable your brand to reach a wider, more varied audience. Without it, you are putting potential barriers up for some users.

To learn how to make a website accessible in no time, plus create accessible content, read on.

Why is accessibility important?

The bottom line is that accessible content can help your brand. For example, did you know that around 15% of the world’s population experience disability in one form or another? That’s about one billion people you miss the opportunity of connecting with if you’re not creating inclusive, accessible content on your social media channels. Ensuring that your brand’s social media strategy includes steps to be accessible will allow you to reach every follower through the diversity of your content.

Why aren’t more brands providing accessible content?

There are various reasons that more people aren’t providing accessible content on social media, from ignorance to lack of education in making a website accessible or creating accessible content. We live in a world that is becoming increasingly aware of the need to be more diverse, inclusive, and accessible – and it’s your job to ensure you gather the knowledge required to provide that content. With ten simple steps, we’ll show you how to make a website accessible to everyone, including some bonus steps to create accessible content on social media too.

How to create accessible content for your brand

Follow our 10 do’s and don’ts to create an accessible website and social media.

1. DO choose your website colours carefully.

The colours you use will ensure you have an accessible website. Consider everything from the background to the contrast ratio between the text and background, and even something as simple as highlighting interactive elements like links.

2. DO consider how your website will look in mobile view.

Did you know that mobile views account for around half of all website traffic worldwide? To be certain you’re reaching as many people as possible – and keeping them on your site – make sure that it’s user friendly and looks great in mobile view.

3. DO choose your font wisely.

When you’re using text, consider the following important points:

  • Use a legible font, such as Arial, instead of cursive fonts.
  • Use black text on a white background where possible.
  • Use a larger font size, which is easier to read.

4. DO add image descriptions.

Whether you add a description in the caption or utilise the alt text option, this will help you to reach users with visual impairments. Most websites will allow you to add alt text or image descriptions when you upload them. For social media use these steps:

  • Facebook: When uploading a photo, click “edit photo” to add your description to the Alternative Text box before saving.
  • Instagram: When uploading a photo, click “advanced settings”, followed by “write alt text” to add your description before saving.
  • Twitter: When uploading an image, click “+alt” to add your description before sending your tweet.

5. DO add subtitles to all videos.

With around 85% of social media videos watched without sound – and considering users who are deaf or hard of hearing – subtitles are a must. If you need a little help with the subtitles for speed and ease, there are apps and websites available such as Quicc, Kapwing and Closed Caption Creator.

6. DO use inclusive pronouns.

The way you write content – and the language you use – shape people’s perception not only of the world around them but also your brand. Aim to implement a gender-neutral approach by swapping the pronouns, ‘he’ and ‘she’ for, ‘they’.

Read our full guide to inclusive language.

7. DO use CamelCase in your hashtags.

What’s easier to read… #hastagslikethis or #HashtagsLikeThis? By adding a capital at the start of each word in a hashtag, you are making it easy for everyone to read, including users who rely on screen readers. It allows screen readers to capture each word rather than providing some pretty confusing results from lower-case hashtags.

8. DON’T overdo your image descriptions.

An overly long description with every little detail can be frustrating to listen to. You simply need to provide key image details, not irrelevant points.

9. DON’T use ableist language.

This is something many of us probably wouldn’t even realise is an issue, but is all about respect for individuals and communities with disabilities. Replace phrases such as, ‘I stand with…’ for, ‘I support…’ and words like, ‘crazy’ for, ‘wild’. Avoid using ‘able-bodied’, as it insinuates a disabled person is incapable or broken in some way.

10. DON’T use flashing or flickering content.

People with photosensitive epilepsy can be triggered by colours such as full saturated red and videos, text, and animations that flicker, flash or rapidly change. Where possible, use static images and text and avoid videos that flash more than three times per second.

Being accessible and inclusive involves more than just adding an image with a diverse range of skin colours or body types. With this simple guide, you have all the tools needed to create inclusive content. It will help you make sure your brand is taking the right steps to create content that reaches every user on each platform you use.

Now that you know how to create accessible content, why not check out our blog on ten tips to creating brand messaging?

Naomi Hassan is an independent blogger and freelance writer; she is part of the Hoxby community.

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