For the one billion people around the world living with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive impairments, the above figure translates into inconvenient, unequal, and inaccessible digital experiences every day.
Meeting everyone’s needs and providing them with intuitive, accessible content experiences is undoubtedly the right thing to do. But, by most conceivable metrics, it’s also the smart thing to do.
When we create content, above all else, we’re looking for one thing – engagement. We write things to be read, record things to be heard, and build eye-catching assets to be clicked. When we make our content more accessible, we expand its potential audience, giving more people the chance to engage with it. Everybody wins.
But it’s not just about expanding your potential audience. Improving content accessibility improves experiences for everyone, not just those with specific accessibility requirements. Text is more readable, and journeys become smoother and more intuitive, which typically adds up to:
So, if increasing accessibility can bring measurable content performance improvements, improve perceptions of your brand, and improve experiences for millions of people, surely people don’t need to be told to do it. Right?
In May 1999, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published the first set of WCAG guidelines. It laid out 14 general principles of accessible design that together help ensure digital content and experiences are easy for people with vision, hearing, motor, or cognitive impairments to access and engage with.
Since then, WCAG guidelines have evolved and expanded multiple times, with the latest version – WCAG 2.2 – scheduled to be finalized and published by the end of this year. As the guidelines evolved over the last two decades, the way the guidelines are enforced has transformed too.
Every day, more countries are taking steps to make accessibility a legal obligation for creators and curators of digital content. And in countries like the US where they’ve been a requirement for several years, both enforcement and cases of civil litigation are on the rise.
With legislative pressure growing, it’s no longer a case of if you take steps to improve content accessibility, but rather when and how you do it. For the when, we recommend starting today. As for the how, below are three simple tips you can put into action immediately to start improving accessibility and moving toward compliance.
Missing alt text is the second-most common reason why web pages fail to meet WACG 2.0 guidelines – with a huge 55.4% of all home pages missing alt text for at least one image.
Many screen readers cut off alt text at around 125 characters, so practically speaking, there isn’t much to create. All you need is a short, succinct description of what each image depicts, which will ensure there are never any gaps in your content – however a reader consumes it.
If your content reaches even a modestly-sized audience, they will view through smartphones, desktop devices, a variety of browsers, dedicated file viewers, and assisted screen reading tools.
It’s important to consider those different content consumption journeys. Make sure that wherever and however users engage with your content, what they see is both consistent and complete.
For people with cognitive disabilities, poorly-presented information, and overloaded pages are more than just points of frustration. They’re unnecessary barriers that can turn a user off your content or your website for life.
The easier your content is to navigate, the longer people will read – regardless of their accessibility needs. So, making everything as simple and intuitive to explore as possible just makes sense.
At Turtl, we believe that greater context accessibility is better for everyone. Every creator, every publisher, every consumer, and even every SEO robot that crawls through your content. So, we’re constantly working on new capabilities to make content created with Turtl as accessible as possible.
We’ll have more information about our latest accessibility capabilities to share with you soon. But until then, we hope you find the tips in this blog and our accompanying Turtl Guide useful. Start building more accessible, compliant content today.
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