In this guest blog, we hear from Daniel McLaughlan, Accessibility Consultant at AbilityNet, on why we should develop an inclusive approach to digital communications. If you want to hear more from Daniel, check out our webinar and explore how we can create accessible experiences for everyone throughout the entire customer journey.
The internet plays a big part in our lives. We can stay in touch with friends and family through social media, learn new skills on e-learning platforms, keep up to date with the latest news, and promote businesses and causes that are important to us. However, without careful consideration for the way we share digital content, we can very quickly exclude a variety of people from these same opportunities.
There are almost 14 million disabled people in the UK across a spectrum of physical and mental conditions. Not all disabilities are visible, and a lack of representation in the media only serves to silence those voices. Without them, we miss the opportunity to learn from experiences different from our own.
However, accessibility is not just for people with disabilities; it benefits everyone. Through temporary conditions, injuries, or restrictions in different environments, we can all find ourselves with different access needs. Similarly, with aging populations, the products and services we use today may not be fit for purpose in future. Therefore we need to be mindful of only creating content for ‘people like us’ and instead designing with the flexibility to cater to our future selves too.
Rather than seeing accessibility as an add-on, we must make it part of our initial process. By taking an inclusive approach, we can move from a place of accessibility as afterthought to accessibility without thinking. From our social media and content management platforms too we should expect the tools to create accessible content. Accessibility is everyone’s responsibility.
Above all, sharing content responsibly means valuing the full diversity of human experience. Whether due to lack of awareness or a lack of suitable tools, we can unintentionally exclude people from our conversations. In the upcoming webinar with Texthelp, I will share some hints and tips for creating accessible digital content that are easy to put into practice and beneficial for everyone.
Check out our webinar ‘How to create accessible & inclusive digital content’ to hear more from Daniel. You'll also hear from Clare Reucroft, Content Designer at Content Design London, and Donna Thomson, Marketing Manager at Texthelp.
About the author
Daniel McLaughlan, Accessibility Consultant at AbilityNet
As an accessibility expert, Daniel supports a range of private and public sector clients to put people first in their products and services by providing detailed audits of apps and websites, design reviews, user testing sessions and delivering bespoke training. He is a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility with the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP).