Marketing Without Barriers: Considering Digital Accessibility for Customers and Prospects with Disabilities


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There are 57 million Americans living with a disability, and many of these people need to use assistive technology to interact with websites and digital marketing materials. If your website and marketing materials aren't created properly, they won't be compatible with these devices, and you could be unintentionally excluding customers who would otherwise like to buy from you. You can also be at risk for legal liability if you're in an industry that is subject to accessibility compliance regulations.

This talk illustrates why businesses and marketers should be thinking about accessibility when they develop marketing plans and launch digital campaigns.

Published in: Marketing, Design, Technology
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Marketing Without Barriers: Considering Digital Accessibility for Customers and Prospects with Disabilities

  1. 1. Marketing Without Barriers LA2M 6/11/2014 Considering Digital Accessibility for Customers and Prospects with Disabilities
  2. 2. Marisa Smith, Head Brainiac @wholebrainprez
  3. 3. #a11ymktg
  4. 4. Cognitive Thoughtful organization and layout of content Hearing Closed/Open Captions Transcript Files Visual Screen Readers Braille Displays Ambulatory Keyboard Only Speech to Text Software What is Digital Accessibility? Designing and developing your website and digital marketing materials so that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, interact and contribute.
  5. 5. “POUR” vs Poor • Perceivable - All visitors have similar experience, regardless of ability • Operable - All controls and interactive elements are ‘usable’ • Understandable - Content is clear, limits confusion and ambiguity. • Robust - Access of content with wide range of technologies
  6. 6. Why should you care about digital accessibility?
  7. 7. Growing Market Opportunity
  8. 8. Market Opportunity
  9. 9. Who does it affect?
  10. 10. 80% of accessibility improvements have an SEO benefit: ● Alt text on images, correct page structure, transcripts of videos and infographics, etc. Many accessibility principles are also core usability principles: ● Help users navigate and find content ● Make text readable and understandable ● Make content appear and operate in predictable ways ● Help users avoid and correct mistakes SEO and Usability Benefits
  11. 11. Legal Liability Notable Decisions and Settlements Commerce • NFB v. Target (2006) • ACB, AFB, CCB v. Staples (2009) Insurance and Health • Doe v. Mutual of Omaha (1999) • ACB, AFB, CCB v. Rite Aid (2008) • ACB, AFB, CCB v. CVS (2009) • ACB v. American Cancer Society (2011) Financial • State of NY v. HSBC (2009) • DOJ v. Wells Fargo (2011) • Kit Lau v. Charles Schwab (2012) Websites are a place of public accommodation
  12. 12. Canada: Common look & Feel, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Europe: Britain-DDA; EU pending legislation China/South Korea: WCAG 2.0 Japan: JIS Australia: Advanced Accessibility Standards Israel: Advanced Accessibility Standards International Standards United States: WCAG & Rehabilitation Act
  13. 13. Rehabilitation Act The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies, in programs receiving Federal assistance, in Federal employment, and in the employment practices of Federal contractors. ● Section 503 ● Section 504 ● Section 508
  14. 14. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is legislation passed in 1991 outlawing discrimination against those with disabilities. ● ADA ensures physical access to public places. ● Digital Access not expressly in law, but Department of Justice has taken the position that Title III also applies to websites as part of “public accommodation”. Remove barriers to information just as you would remove physical barriers to a building
  15. 15. OK, I care! Now what?
  16. 16. Assistive Technology You need to build your digital content to be compatible with assistive technology.
  17. 17. WCAG Standards W.C.A.G. is a series of web accessibility guidelines published by the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative. It’s the standard rule set that defines what exactly makes a website accessible. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
  18. 18. Top 10 Digital Accessibility Issues 1. Alt Text for Images (active images, informative images, decorative images, complex images) 2. Keyboard Accessible (Keyboard Traps) 3. Forms and Dynamic Content Focus (ex: Date Pickers & Form Error messaging) 4. Focus Indicators (Keyboard Only) 5. Color as information (and contrast)
  19. 19. 6. Semantics (heading structure and lists) 7. Data tables (labels) 8. Multimedia (captions & transcripts) 9. Skip to Content (navigation) 10. Downloadable PDFs (embed text) Top 10 Digital Accessibility Issues
  20. 20. ✓ Mobile sites and mobile applications used to serve information to your customers ✓ Downloadable PDFs ✓ Landing pages and forms ✓ Webinar tools ✓ Email marketing content ✓ Third party tools and content (HubSpot, Marketo, ZenDesk, UserVoice) Consider Accessibility of ALL Digital Content Consider accessibility when building your buyer personas
  21. 21. ✓ Consider color contrast of background and text ✓ Beware of gradients ✓ Avoid indicating status or information with color alone ✓ Make sure fonts are sans-serif Consider Accessibility in Your Style Guide
  22. 22. •I have to provide a text only version •My site can’t look good and be accessible •Accessibility diminishes functionality •Accessibility is impossible to achieve •Accessibility is expensive •Accessibility is a lot of work to help a few people Accessibility Myths Accessibility Myths
  23. 23. Sample Accessible Website ✓ Aesthetically pleasing ✓ WCAG 2.0 Compliant ✓ Integrated with HubSpot
  24. 24. Accessibility Blueprint Accessibility is not a one person show: you can’t do it alone, nor should you… You need the right: • Development Tools • Resources • Training • Engagement from External Partners
  25. 25. Download FireEyes available at no cost at http://www. Study W3Cs Web Content Accessibility Guidelines at Free Development Tools WAVE Browser Toolbar - WAVE Color Contrast Checker - http://webaim. org/resources/contrastchecker/
  26. 26. Next steps: Audit. Fix. Sustain. ✓ Decide if you will make digital accessibility a priority ✓ Understand the legislation that may apply to your business ✓ Determine the level of accessibility you will conform to ✓ Begin to create a culture of accessibility through training & education ✓ Review accessibility of site designs & templates – check for things like keyboard accessibility of navigation, color contrast of design, alt tags on images, template structure, etc. ✓ Review accessibility of other digital content – videos, pdfs, etc. ✓ Correct accessibility violations in site designs/templates and other digital content ✓ Plan for sustainability and monitor compliance
  27. 27. Resources & Credits ✓ WBG Accessible Marketing Blog Posts ○ ✓ WBG Checklist: Designing for Accessibility ○ ✓ Deque Systems Website ○ Thank you to our client, Deque Systems, for allowing me to reuse selected graphics from the infographics and presentations we have created for them.