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    Digital Marketing

    Digital Accessibility: What Is it & Why Is It Important?

    When you’re creating, designing and developing your website, there is a chance that you’re focusing heavily on the visual impact, whilst ensuring that it’s optimized for all devices.

    That is great! However, there is one issue. You’re limiting your audience. When you’re doing this, you could be overlooking your digital accessibility.

    With nearly 20% of the population living with a disability, it is important that you need to focus on it. So, to answer this question: what is digital accessibility and why is it important?

    What is Digital Accessibility?

    Putting it simply, Digital Accessibility is the process of being able to make your digital products such as your literature, systems, websites, and any other online or digital tools accessible to anyone.

    Whether it is a cognitive disability, someone visually impaired who needs a screen reader, or someone else who needs adaptations to your website. These are just some of the reasons why you need to ensure that your website is accessible to everyone.

    Why Is Digital Accessibility Important?

    Digital accessibility ensures access to everyone. Being able to be inclusive on your digital products such as websites and symbols is important. Not only is it important for your customers, but it is important for any new people visiting your website for the first time.

    As nearly 20% of the population live with some sort of disability, there is a possibility that more and more people won’t be able to access your website or system due to inadequate design and development. This is why it is increasingly important to keep your digital products accessible to everyone.

    The Difference Between Web & Digital Accessibility

    When you or people generally are explaining accessibility, there is always some confusion between web and digital accessibility. To make this easier than ever, we are here to explain:

    Web Accessibility

    Web (or website) accessibility refers to ensuring that your website and associated products are equally accessible and usable to anyone regardless of their disabilities.

    Digital Accessibility

    Including web accessibility, digital accessibility covers a lot more than that. There is also the addition of video, audio, animations, mobile applications, or any additional piece of content which is accessible digitally.

    Top Principles of Digital Accessibility

    Whether it is for your literature or readable content, systems, websites, or any of your other digital media, being able to ensure it is accessible is not only improving lives and attracting new audiences, but it also enables you to be more compliant with different laws around the world.

    Through these four different user-centric principles of accessibility, you’ll be able to understand more reasons of importance to ensure your products are accessible for all:

    Perceivable

    By definition, if the users and potential customers who visit your website are unable to perceive the content, your product is inaccessible.

    Regardless of the digital product you’re interacting with, communication is based on and relies on all the senses. For the overall experience, the relevant senses of the content are sight, hearing, and touch. So, you need to ask yourself if your content can be perceived by your audience.

    Although the visual style is there to enhance the user experience, the message should not depend on the overall presentation. Being able to get the best design which has a mix of accessibility and style is crucial. Additionally, you need to ensure that there aren’t any interferences with the different elements on your site, system, or digital product.

    Operable

    Ensuring that your website is fully operable is crucial, especially for those who have disabilities. The interactive elements of the interfaces, such as controls, buttons, and navigational elements should be able to be operated physically such as clicking, touching, swiping, and rolling.

    As an alternative, you need to ensure that those who need it have access to voice commands and can use other assistive devices such as head wands and eye trackers.

    Featuring the element of ensuring your website is operable, error recovery is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle to look out for! No one likes to accidentally delete a file, pay for the wrong product or make an uncorrectable mistake.

    For those people who have disabilities, you need to make it a bit easier for those people. When you’re developing your website to be accessible, there are many ways to ensure you’re doing better. Confirmation pages, error alerts, and warnings – these are all ways to ensure your content is up to standard.

    Understandable

    Although the understandability of your content is similar to usability, they are both useful factors to ensure they are implemented on your website.

    Even if all the content on your website is universally perceivable and operable, you need to ensure that your content is understandable to be accessible. The content on your website needs to be written as clearly and simply as possible. This is all crucial whilst you’re considering your target audience.

    Whilst you’re constructing, planning, or writing your content it’s important to identify the type of language in which your web content is written using the language attributed. Not only will this help a small amount with your SEO, but even more so for the accessibility of your digital product. This is because it ensures that your content is presented properly and read audibly by screen readers in the correct language.

    Robust

    Regardless of the differences in users and technologies which are used, when you go to a system, website, or other digital product you expect them to work. This is where the robustness of the product comes into play.

    Whether you do it in-house or with external developers (which may sometimes be better), you need to ensure that there is the freedom to take advantage of technology to be able to improve accessibility.

    Additionally, one of the most important points within robustness is ensuring that there isn’t any sloppy code. No missing tags, errors, or inconsistencies can occur within the code because this could take a hit to your content and the overall digital tool. This is why ensuring these factors are extremely important.

    How Good Is Your Digital Accessibility?

    Now you understand the importance of your digital accessibility and why you need to ensure it is improved. By improving your web and digital accessibility, not only will your website be fully compliant, but it will also enable more people to visit your website.

    However, it can sometimes be confusing to get your head around all the different elements of your website or it might not be the highest on your list of priorities. So, why not let us help you?