When one thinks of digital marketing, their minds don’t typically go to ADA compliance testing/WCAG standards. After all, most internet users aren’t disabled, right? So then what would be the point of making sure your content is compliant with the ADA/WCAG?
Believe it or not, people with disabilities make up a large share of internet users. In fact, one in four disabled Americans has access to high-speed wifi internet via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. There are over one billion disabled people in the world, and the majority of them use the internet (daily).
With just a few quick fixes and techniques, you can easily make your content more accessible (for everyone using the internet – not just regular users). Below are some of the best ways to be more strategically inclusive with your content marketing efforts. We cover specific tactics, methods and tips for ADA compliance testing.
Why Making Accessible Content is Important
Not making sure your content is accessible for disabled users is a huge mistake. In regards to digital marketing, why would you want to purposefully exclude a potential audience/demographic from your content?
There are nearly 40 million Americans with disabilities, and at least a quarter of that population regularly uses the internet. That’s 10 million people (i.e. 10 million potential conversions, sales, etc.).
Apart from the obvious of missing out on a huge potential audience, there’s also the legal side of things. While this applies more to federal agencies/organizations (as well as their contractors, vendors, etc.), it’s still important for businesses to focus on.
Potential Legal and Financial Issues
If your website isn’t clearly accessible, you could potentially be privy to lawsuits. These types of legal actions are filed all the time, and while some of them may not result in anything substantial, they still have the potential for major financial pain/stress (especially for smaller companies).
With that being said, there are several cases where B2C/D2C retailers have been sued regarding their lack of accessible content. These lawsuits are filed every year, and quite often at that. Most companies choose to settle (with estimates ranging from a low of $10,000 all the way up to six figures). This is another major reason why it’s important for your business to focus on accessibility (and yes – this includes accessible digital marketing).
How to Be More Accessible
Now that you know why it’s essential for your business (and its marketing efforts) to be more accessible, you’re probably wondering how you should go about doing that. Below are some of the basic areas of accessibility that your website (and any content associated with your business) should focus on:
Having an appropriate level of contrast between the colors utilized on your website (and other content) is very important for users who suffer from vision-related problems. More specific details regarding color/content contrast in WCAG 2.0 is available on WCAG’s website.
Alt-Tags are Important
Users who suffer from vision-problems, need to be able to read everything that appears on the screen (because they can’t visualize it). They typically use screen-readers for this purpose. This is one of the major reasons why using proper alt-tags is essential.
Forms for Everyone
Making sure that your website’s forms (which includes your email opt-ins, lead signups, account registration forms, etc.) are accessible is another major focus of the recent WCAG update.
Many of these requirements revolve around making sure the basics are done properly (e.g. making sure input fields are properly marked, making sure screen-readers can accurately convey the information to the disabled user, etc.).
There Are Levels to Compliance
ADA Compliance levels range from a high of AAA to a low of A. Generally speaking, if your business has any type of relationship with a government entity, you need to be aiming for A to AA compliance (A being the bare minimum).
If you’re a standard B2B or B2C brand, you should be aiming for an A level (which is the lowest level of conformance and includes only the most basic components of accessibility).
The reason that government agencies, as well as companies that do business with them, need to be compliant to a higher level is that the ADA and WCAG apply directly to them. If you’re a business that has a contract with the government, you need to make compliance one of your top content priorities (and really, it should be built into your content strategy from the very start).
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