Myth Buster: Digital Accessibility is just for people with disabilities.
Picture yourself sitting on the train watching a video. If you consider your fellow passengers you’ll keep the sound off, and either try and lip read and follow the action, or be pleased to find captions.
In this example, the accessible feature (captions) helps many of us. Yet businesses today, still perceive digital accessibility to be for a sub-section of society.
Digital Accessibility by definition means that websites, tools, and apps are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them (W3C). Not only are barriers removed, but there are other benefits such as improving overall user experience, creating positive brand perception, wider audience reach, and supporting Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Here are some more digital accessibility techniques that benefit us all:
Structured Content: have you visited a webpage that is so busy you don’t know where to look or a blog that’s a sea of black text on a white background? Structured content with headings and bullet points helps readers understand the flow and connection between content. It also helps your skimmers and scanners quickly find keywords and phrases.
Online Glossaries: across our respective jobs, there are industry-specific words, acronyms and shorthand. We may assume that these are understood, but our audience may not. Online glossaries and definitions are particularly helpful in our neuro diverse world and support user experience. Wouldn’t you feel more favourable towards a brand if they provided helpful information to enhance your understanding of their product or service?
Alt descriptions: these are the descriptions used to describe an image on a webpage or social post. They are relied upon by people using screen readers, and these descriptions are great for SEO. Google, for example, will use alt descriptions to understand the content of a page and how it relates to the subject matter on that page. (See my blog on Accessibility & Design for All: Why Businesses Need to Care for help on writing alt descriptions.)
...and back to Video captions & subtitles: Aside from being useful in a quiet/loud environment, captions also help those watching in a non-native language. They help us to understand what is being said, and studies have shown that people watching videos with captions have a better comprehension of the content.
Can you think of any other situations where accessibility features help us all?