As marketers, it’s our goal to create helpful, informative, and engaging content that delights readers. And it’s important to account for people with disabilities when writing and organizing websites, landing pages, blog posts, emails, and more. How can content marketers create material that’s accessible to people of all abilities? Here, we discuss the top accessibility best practices for content marketing.
One great way to start is by paying attention to textual hierarchy, which is a system that focuses on organizing content based on size, font, and text layout. For example, a blog post that uses this method will use large, top level heading (H1) text for the title and H2 text to divide different sections. H1 is an HTML element that acts as a header and is not only easy to see and read, but is also friendly to those who use screen readers.
Screen readers convert text, buttons, and images into speech or braille, allowing those with limited or no vision to listen to or read content more easily. Using H1 and H2 headers and subheaders allows the screen reader to distinguish different sections of text, enabling users to effectively navigate content.
Font and Text size
Making sure text size is large enough to be read without strain is vital to people with visual impairments and dyslexia. In the United States alone, 32.2 million adults are blind or have experienced vision loss, meaning they have trouble seeing, even when wearing corrective eyewear like contact lenses or glasses.
To make sure that those who have experienced vision loss can fully navigate and enjoy web content, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends using simple-to-read fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Helvetica, and Verdana. Text itself should be easily displayed on all devices, from desktop computers to tablets, mobile phones, and screen readers.
Incorporating alt text is vital for a variety of reasons. Alt text — or alternative text — attaches a brief text description to images that are posted online. Not only does it help images to be found on search engines, but it is also able to be picked up by screen readers, indicating what the image is to users who may be visually impaired.
Beyond basic content, having accessible code is vital to achieving an accessible experience. Examples of accessible code include:
- Meaningful alt text on images
- Having an organized semantic layout that matches the visual layout
- Using sufficient color contrast on websites
- Readable text size
- Working with browser zooming
Furthermore, code should be written in a way that can be interpreted by devices like screen readers. Although developers may use multiple techniques to build specific parts of web pages, they may not work well with assistive technologies. Keeping details like those top of mind are essential when building a website, blog, or other piece of content.
Fortunately, there are applications that can enable you to create more accessible content or check the accessibility of websites you develop. UserWay and Google Chrome’s Lighthouse are examples of tools that can audit your site’s accessibility, report the ways it can be improved, and ensure that your website is ADA and WCAG 2.1 compliant.
When posting to social media platforms, hashtags are a great way to make your posts more visible while reaching target audiences more easily. And did you know that you can make accessible hashtags?
By using CamelCase, or capitalizing every word in the hashtag, it allows the tag to be read aloud by screen readers. For example, instead of using #howtomarket, #HowToMarket will make your hashtag more visible to screen readers. In addition, CamelCase is friendlier to people with dyslexia and cognitive disabilities.
Accessibility is essential for content marketers. It allows your websites, blogs, emails, and more to be properly picked up by screen readers and read by those with visual impairments and cognitive disabilities. Not only does it help you comply with ADA regulations, but it also enables millions of people to comfortably find and read the content you produce. By following accessibility best practices like these, you’ll be empowered to create more accessible content
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