With 1 in 5 Australians living with some form of disability, many people need accessible digital and print material. But if your marketing material is hard to read or fails to optimise for assistive technologies, you’re excluding a huge audience. You don’t have to be targeting people with disability to gain from accessible marketing. Accessible marketing broadens your audience and has many other benefits for your brand, too.
Why do you need accessible marketing?
1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss. Another 575,000 Australians are affected by low vision. Many others experience motor impairments and intellectual disabilities. These groups span the gamut of audiences, across all industries.
People with disability are increasingly using technology to access digital content. People with vision impairment use screen readers to vocalise digital text. Sticky keys and on-screen keyboards allow people with motor impairments to type. Accessible marketing has been never been more important. But many businesses miss opportunities to engage disabled audiences. Our job as marketers is to create content that is accessible to all.
New tablets for braille help the vision impaired access web content. But this assistive technology can only do so much when you’re trying to read a wordy and confusing website. Similarly, screen magnifiers and screen readers will do little to improve poor readability. Even audiences with good vision will click away from your content when they see a ‘wall of text’. Create accessible marketing by improving the readability of your content. To create readable content, keep your sentences short and punchy. Break text up into paragraphs and use clear headings. Avoid jargon and explain all acronyms. Check your text using a free online tool like Readable or Hemingway Editor.
Digital audiences are looking for specific information in the content they source. This is why scanability is key. Create basic accessible design by increasing contrast between background colours and texts. Avoid image overlays which make text hard to read, or smooth the image over with a transparency tool that makes text overlays clearer. Also, make sure you’ve got enough space between paragraphs.
Print and accessible formats
Make your marketing even more accessible. Use a simple call to action to invite people to ask for relevant formats. This encourages people to ask for information in audio or braille. Avoid glossy paper when marketing for print. It reflects light and is harder for everyone to read. Folds in paper also make text hard to read, so avoid folds that text falls into. Finally, create accessible marketing by diversifying your content. Create audio brochures and podcasts – these are popular with all audiences.
Digital accessibility best practices
Many businesses miss their opportunity to speak to an audience of people with disability. But they also limit their other target audiences, too. People watching videos on buses need subtitles. Others need voice search while cooking dinner or driving a car. Creating accessible marketing is not just for targeting people with disability. Accessible content creates a better user experience for all of your audiences. This has the knock-on effects of boosting your SEO and increasing your reach.