12 tips to improve accessibility and inclusion across digital campaigns

What is one tip to improve digital campaigns so that they're accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities?

We asked Digital Accessibility professionals and business leaders this question for their best tips.

From embedding accessibility in organizational structure to collaborating with disabled influencers, there are several tips that may help you become more inclusive of people with disabilities throughout your digital campaign initiatives. 

Here are 12 tips to improve accessibility and inclusion across digital campaigns:

  1. Embed Accessibility in Organizational Culture
    Digital campaigns have a greater reach when digital accessibility is adopted throughout the organization. Organizations should look at adopting digital accessibility not just as a process change, but also as a cultural shift.

    When digital accessibility is adopted throughout the organization, it is not only baked into policies and processes, but digital accessibility also becomes integral in hiring practices, continuity of operations planning, procurement, project planning, communications, office layout, team building, community initiatives, etc. It becomes an organizational shift from the top down rather than a task or function for an individual department.

    The benefits of adopting accessibility throughout the culture are better relationships, expanded collaboration, and increased innovation with more diverse talent.

    Marie Cohan, Texas Department of Information Resources

  2. Incorporate Visuals
    The use of images is becoming more prevalent on social media platforms. More significant, more famous artwork is becoming more popular on websites. "A picture is worth a thousand words," as the saying goes.

    Using high-quality, branded imagery in a campaign can boost its effectiveness while increasing brand knowledge and familiarity. Visual information is conveyed to the brain 90% of the time, and pictures are processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than words, allowing you to communicate with your audience clearly and quickly. Furthermore, graphics are more likely to have emotional meaning, assisting you in achieving relevance and boosting the likelihood that your audience will have a genuine connection to your message, resulting in the attainment of your objectives.

    Muskan Rai, Web Hosting Advices

    When incorporating visuals, it’s important to provide an alternative text description. You can find out more about alt text in Texthelp’s Guide to creating accessible content.

  3. Produce a Multimodal Campaign
    People have varying degrees of ability when interacting with digital media. For example, those who are short of sight may require a screen reader or magnifier, and those who are hard of hearing may need subtitling options. These inclusions are necessary to facilitate an equal browsing experience, and without them, it could create a barrier that prevents users with impairments from interacting. As such, it's crucial not to overlook the importance of proper accessibility for your campaign.

    To ensure that your digital campaign is accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities, create content that can be consumed in a range of different formats. If a campaign exists only on a single channel, such as text, it could alienate an entire subset of consumers who cannot engage with that content. By making sure that visual and audio elements have established equivalents, such as captions and transcripts, all users can consume your content and learn from it in a way that works for them.

    Patrick Casey, Felix

  4. Add Subtitles to Videos
    Most marketers are well used to making excellent video presentations for use on websites and social media in this age, and great care is put into their production of them. However, these videos can be of limited use to people with hearing disabilities.

    When we consider that upwards of 15% of the US adult population have a hearing disability, this equates to approximately 38 million potential customers who cannot derive the full messages from your advertisements. It takes a little effort, but by adding subtitles to your videos, you have the opportunity to capture a share of that market.

    Not only will your message be accessible to an increased market, but you will show the compassionate side of your business and you stand to benefit from the perception of your business as accessible to and inclusive of all, regardless of their disability.

    Morgan Taylor, Sourcery

  5. Celebrate Diversity
    Digital campaigns and advertising are often designed to portray picture-perfect models who are un-relatable to any audience, and the percentage of disabled models used in campaigns is slim to none. People with disabilities should not be overlooked and apart from designing the products to be accessible and usable by people with disabilities the campaign itself should be inclusive and show all our community spectrum to make people with disabilities feel included and that the brand cares for their needs and presence.

    Michael Nemeroff, Rush Order Tees

    Discover more in Texthelp’s Guide to Understanding Inclusive Marketing.

  6. Check Your Contrast
    One of the quickest ways to make your campaigns accessible and inclusive is to use a tool like webaim.org to check the contrast of your campaign colors. When there is not enough contrast, like a light blue text color on a white background, it makes visibility difficult for both humans and screen readers.

    The WebAIM contrast checker is easy to use and will help you select text colors and sizes that meet ADA requirements and help your campaigns be inclusive.

    Devin Schumacher, SERP

  7. Always Test Your Digital Campaign
    Always test your digital campaign with a neurodiverse individual. When writing copy, write it from the perspective of someone who is blind or visually impaired. That way you'll be sure to avoid unnecessary jargon and tricky acronyms that can be hard to decipher. The same goes for video content. If the audio is poor quality or doesn't have captions, it can be difficult to understand. If you want to accurately convey your message, prioritize audio quality and captioning.

    When designing, keep in mind the differences in how people with disabilities read. This can include people with dyslexia or dyspraxia. It's always good practice to provide a clean and easy-to-follow layout and navigation. This will not only aid accessibility, but it will create an overall better user experience.

    Neille Bonner, NEC

    Learn more about accessible design with Texthelp’s Guide to Accessible User Experience and Design.

  8. Follow the Guidelines Specified by Each Platform
    It's very important to follow the guidelines specified for the platforms for which you're creating content. Some platforms may have accessibility features that make it easier to create digital content. For example, YouTube has a feature for closed captioning videos and a special site for people with disabilities that allows for a faster response time. There are many other ways to improve digital campaigns so that they're accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities.

    Daniel Brdanovic, Maximo

  9. Write in Camel Case When Using Hashtags
    Screen readers do a great job of aiding accessibility. But for those with learning disabilities, shortness of sight, or even people studying English, the way that you write can make or break your content's legibility. If a screen reader struggles to verbalize what you've written, it could completely exclude these users from engaging.

    You should always make sure that your content is written in a clear and easily-digestible fashion, but pay the closest attention to your use of hashtags. Hashtags are commonly used in digital campaigns. However, they're notorious for giving screen readers a hard time because they use no spacing. For users that depend on this software, this can be very limiting.

    To ensure that your hashtag remains legible, use camel case. This is the difference between "#diversityandinclusion" and "#DiversityAndInclusion". The second option is both easier on the eyes and more straightforward for screen reader software to understand, helping users of every ability.

    Max Wesman, GoodHire

  10. Use Alt Text for Imagery for Screenreaders
    Whether you're publishing images on a landing page or on social media as part of your digital campaign, use alt text to describe the image you're posting. Internet users who are blind or visually impaired may use a screen reader to access the content. With alt text in place for the images, the screen reader will be able to audibly read out your alt text description of the image being used.

    Social media platforms Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram have incorporated options to add alt text when uploading images on their platform. A website will usually have the option to add alt text within the content management system or the tags can be coded in manually.

    Steph Andrusjak, SEO Steph

  11. Provide Users With their Choice of Modifications
    Forms can often be a challenge for some users; therefore, it's important to design them in a way that accommodates everyone. It's critical to show your users a dynamic interface that offers modifications based on their specific needs. Users can automatically adjust the web design or make specific changes in color, content, display, and navigation. For example, a user with epilepsy can choose an "epilepsy safe profile," which eliminates flashes and reduces color, while a visually impaired user might choose a profile that enhances the website's visuals. Offering your users' choice is a great way to make sure your campaigns are inclusive and accessible.

    Georgi Todorov, ThriveMyWay

  12. Collaborate With Disabled Influencers
    To improve digital campaigns, finding local micro-influencers that are disabled and partnering with them is one of the best ways of relating to disabled customers in your niche. Most of us tend to follow and buy from people that look like us and who also share similar characteristics. Discovering disabled influencers on social networking platforms will unveil hundreds of opportunities to connect with like-minded customers.

    Ben Richardson, Acuity Training

Discover more with Texthelp's Digital Accessibility Guide

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