Marketing Without Barriers: Considering Digital Accessibility for Customers and Prospects with Disabilities
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.
and layout of
Speech to Text
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.
“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
Why should you care about digital
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
Notable Decisions and Settlements
• 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)
• State of NY v. HSBC (2009)
• DOJ v. Wells Fargo (2011)
• Kit Lau v. Charles Schwab (2012)
Websites are a
place of public
Common look & Feel, Accessibility
for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Europe: Britain-DDA; EU
pending legislation China/South Korea: WCAG
WCAG & 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
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
Remove barriers to information just as you would remove physical
barriers to a building
You need to build your digital content
to be compatible with assistive
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
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
4. Focus Indicators (Keyboard Only)
5. Color as information (and contrast)
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
✓ 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
✓ 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
•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 is not a one person show: you can’t do it alone, nor
You need the right:
• Development Tools
• Engagement from External Partners
Download FireEyes available at no cost at http://www.
Study W3Cs Web Content Accessibility Guidelines at
Free Development Tools
WAVE Browser Toolbar - http://wave.webaim.org/toolbar/
WAVE Color Contrast Checker - http://webaim.
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
✓ Plan for sustainability and monitor compliance
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.