by Laura Ludka
March 08, 2023
Have you designed your association’s website for people with laryngitis as well as a new parent holding a newborn? Do you write your social posts keeping in mind those with ear infections or on a noisy train commuting to work?
Let me explain: For some people, the words “accessibility” or “disability” in web design sound like we are talking about “others’ needs” or “outliers from the ‘norm’”. The more we define accessibility as “someone else’s problem”, the narrower our perspective becomes when we think of our organization’s website or social media visitors. In turn, this narrows the amount of people your association may reach.
In fact, there are so many facets to being human that may require us to interact with marketing in different ways, at different times in our life, or even throughout a day.
As Microsoft’s Inclusive 101 design toolkit outlines, there is a spectrum of disabilities including those that are permanent, temporary, or situational. Based on this framework, the audience for accessible digital marketing is, well, everyone.
Source: Microsoft DevBlogs, The Journey to Accessible Apps, Inclusive 101 Design Toolkit
So, how do you ensure your digital marketing is working for everyone? Below are a few tools and tips to consider when evaluating how your association could be more accessible to all.
- Accessible Social – Accessible Social is a free resource hub for digital marketers with gobs of information on how to make your organization’s social media content more accessible. From audio and video content pointers (captions!) to ensuring you add alternative text to describe images for people who use screen readers, there are many opportunities to make your social feel more welcoming.
And who knows, maybe your post’s alt text will go as viral as the post itself?
Pro tip: be sure to bookmark this page in your browser as it’s one you’ll reference again and again.
- Accessible Web Free Website Checker – Accessible Web’s Free Website Checker is a great tool to help your association prioritize accessibility improvements you can make on your website. Ranked by critical, serious, moderate, and minor, you’ll see exactly how your association’s site stands up to accessibility standards. Accessible Web also offers a color contrast checker for your graphic designers and web designers to consider when creating graphics for your site.
Pro tip: take a look at your organization’s brand guidelines through the lens of your website and color contrast. It may be time to add a few new colors to your branding.
- Microsoft Design’s Inclusive 101 Design Toolkit – A great exercise for any association staff team would be to read through Microsoft’s industry-leading toolkit and start a discussion on how your team can better create positive interactions in your association’s marketing and communications.
Pro tip: if your team extends beyond marketing and communications, be sure to check out our other articles on this topic including 29 Accessibility Measures to Make Your Event More Inclusive and Prioritizing Accessibility within Your Association.
The foundation of all associations is the people. Between staff, members, the public, event attendees, sponsors, and more, be rest assured that the people interacting with your digital marketing care about being included. Maintain a commitment to accessibility for your association and you’ll make a lot of people happy.
Laura Ludka is in Corporate Marketing at Smithbucklin.