Why Accessibility Should be More Than an Afterthought

Meghan Ann Gruber
Published June 30, 2022
  • Diversity Equity & Inclusion

As pandemic life recedes in the U.S., many are rethinking what work means to them, how they are valued, and how they spend their time. Work is no longer just about paying the bills. Work must also accommodate life. Inclusive leaders have challenged their organizations to adopt proactive and reactive strategies around both talent and creating a workplace where people want to be.

Companies are doing more to both attract and retain talent through accessibility considerations and practices, and with good reason. According to the CDC, 61 million adults in the US live with a disability — that is 1 in 4 adults that have some type of disability. Inclusivity and connection in the workplace pay off when accessibility is placed at the forefront of marketing. Forbes suggests that organizations can start by asking their marketing departments if the content they are developing can be consumed by all people living with a disability. There is a lot to look for and knowing what you do not know is the most important first step.

Below are just a few of the guidelines marketers should consider before launching any campaign to lead the conversation and move beyond our slowly evolving societal and political perceptions.

 

  1. Is the call to action clear? Snazzy slogans are lost if the audience is unable to clearly discern what action should be taken. Creative may be misunderstood if the audience is unclear on how to engage with the brand.
  2. Are the fonts readable? If fonts, logos, and colors are difficult to decipher, it blocks the consumer from having any meaningful experience with the brand.
  3. Is alt text included? Ensuring that designers can create content by offering alt text with images will prevent inadvertently turning away consumers with visual impairments.
  4. Is assistive technological navigation considered, is the content compatible with desktop screen readers like JAWS and mobile screen readers like Voiceover and Talkback? Putting the needs of the consumer first will allow them to customize their experience with you.
  5. Did you consider best practices within social media platforms? Limiting use of emojis and hash tagging properly with Camel Casing?

Digitas cares about DEI and A; however, all organizations that invest in talent with disabilities and accessibility practices will outperform every time. Making inclusion a core part of both the top-down and bottom-up goals of the company embeds accessibility into the culture. Doing so will not only provide business impact and value (greater innovation and inclusion, boosts in revenue and productivity, as well as an overall improvement in brand and reputation to name a few), but inclusive practices and considerations will continue to pave the way for an equal-access digital environment. Even if there is not a fiscal advantage in hiring those who experience a form of disability, it is the right thing to do.

At Digitas, we have an Accessibility Center of Excellence that exists to prepare cross capability internal teams for accessibility compliance as well as engage with external clients at scale, providing consultation on organizational readiness, tactical audits, and delivery of best practice materials. For more information, the ACOE can be reached @ACOE@digitas.com

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