Accessibility is the concept that everything we design is usable by everyone.

Although it is traditionally focused around those with disabilities, accessibility is strongly related to universal design practices. Making products and services fully available to those within a wider range of abilities, benefits many other user groups and allows design to function within the wide range of situations.

Melanie O'Donnell, who wrote an article for Ceros Inspire advises ‘When it comes to digital content, we designers, marketers, and content creators have an opportunity to foster true, demonstrable inclusivity’.

This idea, alongside the societal changes we’ve all experienced in 2020, should further encourage us to focus more on designing for diversity of experiences, needs and context in a more empathetic manner.

Additionally, business value is increased through inclusivity, as according to ‘The global market of people with disabilities is over 1 billion people with a spending power of more than $6 trillion. Hence, ignoring this audience segment means losing at least ~20% of your potential users who can bring value to any business.’ This brand value could come in many ways, such as improving innovation to reach wider audiences or becoming more of a respected brand through inclusion.

We’re lucky that many traditional design practices we use ensure that our designs acknowledge all user groups, mainly those with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive disabilities. Ceros outline three simple things we should practice, which I also feel should apply across all marketing communications design –

  • Strong hierarchy and better navigation 

Visual cues help us understand content better. However, the visual hierarchy cannot be accessed by those using e-readers or other tablets, so it’s recommended that we use tagging and establish a clear reading order. Exploring different button uses, clearer page names and navigational menus can really improve user experience.

  • Translating visual elements

We need to make sure that without access to visual elements, our audience can still access the most important information. It is very important to add alt tags and to translate interactive buttons and charts.

  • Reducing motion in interactive experiences 

Although very beneficial in making content more memorable, too much movement can be overwhelming for those with visual sensitivity. So we should give the user an option to reduce motion when viewing on screen.

 We are always looking for ways to enhance brand experiences and accessibility is one way we can do this. By using tools such as Ceros and making sure that key design practices are at the forefront of our workflows, we can make sure we connect with our audiences in a more personal way. Let’s make sure we move away from this ‘one size fits all approach’ and encourage brand innovation.