It’s important that teams get on the same page when it comes to digital accessibility. It’s the only way an organisation can really become inclusive. No matter the role, you’d be surprised to learn how many ways that you can help shape your organisation, both internally and externally, by putting accessibility at the forefront.
In an ever increasing paperless society, the digital sphere is more prevalent than ever. With this being the case, it’s of fundamental importance that all online forms of information can be accessed and understood by everyone.
This includes on:
- Social media
Who is affected by poor digital accessibility and how you can help to create an inclusive society
Although people with disabilities are most affected by poor digital accessibility, it’s something that actually impacts upon everyone. All it takes is an injury, loss of vision or dexterity as we age, or even just being in busy surroundings, and we all may need to rely on a platform being inclusive.
When content isn’t structured or presented correctly, or websites aren’t built to work with different technologies, it can prevent people from interacting with that information or accessing the platform altogether. Inclusive design removes these barriers and gives everyone equal access to information, services, and resources when online.
Your role in creating an inclusive society
We all have a part to play when it comes to digital accessibility within an organisation, or even in our everyday lives.
Not only should you want people to access the content that you have put hard work into creating, it’s their human right to do so. It may not even be someone who is only visiting your website, you might be sitting across the room within your office space right now from a fellow colleague who may need slight adjustments to better access internal resources.
There are many benefits for organisations who prioritise digital accessibility. However, to reap these rewards, it requires a united team approach.
Below, we examine how each department has the power to really make a difference and transform your business output. This advice for includes:
- Senior leadership teams
- Web developers
- Communication, marketing, and social media experts
- Multimedia teams
- Graphic designers
- Administration and Human Resource teams
How Senior Leadership Teams can pave the way in becoming an inclusive organisation
Let’s start at the top. Leadership teams have the influence and ability to passionately get other members of the organisation on board with this important crusade.
Having accessibility advocates is crucial in business. You can be the leader of change and champion why being inclusive is vital for your teams to embrace.
To help bring this change:
- Set out a clear vision and strategy to work towards.
- Shape the culture of your organisation and change mindsets by raising awareness about digital accessibility.
- Rally a team of accessibility SPOCs throughout the organisation.
- Think about any inclusive development needs or required upskilling training.
- Allow for additional time to enable teams to get into good habits.
- Have an audit to assess the accessibility of your internal and external platforms.
- Reach out and speak to the people who use your website or intranet. By seeking their valuable feedback you’ll find out first-hand what problems may need addressing.
- Promote all of the good inclusive steps forward to let your online audience know you are making them a priority.
Accessibility considerations for Web Developers
It goes without saying that web developers have a vital role in creating accessible platforms.
To ensure your website meets with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), your platforms need to be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.
To achieve this you need to consider some of the following points:
- Use the correct semantic html markup.
- Ensure the site supports keyboard navigation and that users of assistive technology can access all site features.
- Remove features that can’t be controlled by the user and avoid using page timeouts.
- Add in elements such as skip-to-content links, descriptive form labels, and visual focus states to support people who are visually impaired.
- Don’t use accessibility overlays or toolbars on your platform, these will not make your website accessible.
- Use unique descriptive page titles on each web page.
- Check any elements with colour has sufficient contrast ratios.
- Make sure that buttons and links that are descriptive, e.g. don’t write ‘click here’.
- Add alternative text to all imagery, explaining what is in the picture or diagram.
- Ensure no elements or features autoplay and remove pop-up adverts.
- Use heading structures, making sure there is only one <h1> and no skipped heading levels.
- Have no moving or flashing elements on any web pages or at least issue a warning prior.
Writing inclusive communication, marketing, and social media content
Communication and marketing team members are generally all-rounders in the field when it comes to creating digital content. From writing inspiring articles, to creating eye-catching graphics, using multimedia, posting on social media and maintaining web pages and documents. So, you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that, alongside web developers, you probably have the most to learn when it comes to digital accessibility.
These are some of the key inclusive areas that you can start to focus within your communications:
- Think about how you write content. It’s important to use concise, plain and simple language. Writing in an active voice can also help to reduce ambiguity.
- Avoid using complex terms or jargon and write acronyms out in full.
- Create consistent and easily scannable content. To achieve this, use structured headings and break content up into bite-sized chunks.
- Use accessible typography.
- Provide context for users by writing descriptive links and adding alt text on all imagery across web pages, social media, and documents.
- Present inclusive media with captions and transcripts.
- Use emojis in an inclusive way by using them in moderation and not in between words or as bullet points.
- Write accessible hashtags, using #PascalCase or #camelCase instead of lowercase.
To help with this, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide for communication experts, going into how to achieve each of the above points and further considerations that you need to implement.
How multimedia teams can create inclusive videos
Videos are the most popular resource on the internet nowadays, with an incredible amount of ways to present content through engaging visuals. However, not everyone accesses this content in the same way when online. So, there are a few considerations that you need to bear in mind to ensure your content is inclusive for all.
- Adding captions to all videos to enable Deaf people to access your content or people who may be in loud and busy surroundings. Also, ensuring your captions are accurate.
- Including written transcripts of videos and podcasts to assist blind users and people with low vision.
- Making sure media player controls are presented for your users to stop, play, and rewind as they wish.
- Checking any text that is displayed is clear to read, with sufficient colour contrasts.
- Ensuring that there is no flashing or blinking imagery present, as this can be dangerous for users.
- Considering translating the video into BSL.
Layout and typography considerations for Graphic Designers
Designers have a lot to consider with their imagery. It can be the difference between someone seeing, reading, and understanding content or being digitally isolated. Luckily, there are a few simple considers that you can implement to be inclusive.
- The choice of font you use. Steer away from fancy fonts; your typeface needs to be clear and user-friendly. We recommend Sans-Serif fonts to aid with readability.
- Font size. Don’t use a font size below 12pt on your design work. The larger and clearer the better for everyone to see and digest.
- Your character and line spacing. Line height should be at least 1.5 times the font size and letter spacing 0.12 times the font size.
- Your layout. Use clear and consistent layouts, avoiding large blocks of text.
- Formatting options. Don’t use justified and italic text and avoid using block capitals.
- Use sufficient colour contrast ratios between background colours and foreground text.
Administration and Human Resource teams
These departments can often be overlooked in digital accessibility planning, however, it’s a vastly important area which can make a large impact with the internal side of communications. Although many websites are now beginning to finally steer away from including PDF documents on their platforms (and rightly so), intranets withhold an array of digital documentation.
Not only that, teams such as Human Resources, send a magnitude of forms and policies out on a daily basis across workforces. Often, these documents can be of an important or sensitive nature, therefore, the need for these to be accessible is of crucial importance.
To aid in creating inclusive online documents:
- Avoid using PDFs, as they are notoriously difficult to make accessible. They are hard to use, search, keep up-to-date, and monitor. Send a Word document or similar instead.
- Provide context through descriptive links and meaningful titles
- Implement a structured hierarchy of heading levels in all documents. This allows users of assistive technology to navigate through your document, along with making the visual side easier to scan.
- Break content up with the use of bulleted lists or numbered steps.
- Write and add alternative text (alt text) on all imagery. This will give a description to users with low vision or who are blind.
- If presenting graphs or infographics, ensure the information being conveyed is also available in a text format.
Your organisation’s digital accessibility journey
Digital accessibility covers a vast array of areas and it can sometimes be confusing where to start. But, remember we’ve all had to start there at some point! The important thing is, that you are now beginning to think about changes that you can make to be more inclusive.
Here’s a few next steps that you can take to help your organisation on its way to becoming accessible:
- Read our useful accessibility guides or follow us for inclusive tips on social media (HeX_Productions).
- Take a free website health check to test your digital accessibility.
- Sign up for some accessibility training and learn from our experts.