Elevating Website Accessibility in Digital Marketing: A Winning Combination

Website Accessibility in Digital Marketing

Imagine this: extending your influence, growing your business, and leaving a positive mark on your audience and markets. Sounds appealing. Surprisingly, achieving these goals is well within reach. That’s where the concept of accessibility comes into play.

A recent study examined the world’s top one million websites’ home pages. It was found that 97% of them had detectable WCAG 2.0 violations. Only 3% of these popular websites provided a fully accessible experience for all users.

These findings come from February 2023, with comparisons to previous analyses in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

In this article, let’s take a closer look at the transformative role of accessibility in digital marketing.

From SEO benefits to user experience enhancements, discover how prioritizing accessibility not only widens your customer base but also strengthens your brand’s perception and aligns with legal responsibilities.

Harnessing the Power of Accessibility Through Inclusivity

  • The World Health Organization indicates that approximately one billion people, constituting 15% of the global population, live with disabilities—a mismatch between individuals and their environment.
  • Diverse disabilities warrant universal attention for enhancing digital experiences.
  • Accessible brands tap into a vast market with over $6 trillion in spending power. People with disabilities form a substantial part of this demographic, offering potential revenue growth.
  • In the digital marketing landscape, accessibility for websites has gained prominence as a mainstream priority. Neglecting accessibility means excluding a significant portion of the audience, which is detrimental to business.
  • Disabilities to consider when designing accessible content include:
  • blindness, 
  • visual impairment, 
  • deafness, 
  • hearing loss, 
  • speech disabilities, 
  • physical limitations, 
  • Neurological constraints, and
  • cognitive challenges.
  • An inclusive website isn’t solely beneficial for disabled individuals; it also improves public relations and search engine optimization while enhancing the user experience.
  • Accessibility is a universal pursuit with far-reaching impacts spanning business success, equal opportunities, and heightened usability. An accessible website contributes to improved search rankings and overall growth.

Maximizing SEO Impact Through Accessibility

  • According to Advocate, John Mueller, while accessibility might not directly impact rankings due to its complexity, accessible websites carry stronger user experience signals that are easily quantifiable.
  • Though not a direct ranking factor, integrating accessibility into digital marketing features aligns with good SEO practices, leading to improved search outcomes. Incorporating alternative texts for images, proper headings, page titles, sitemaps, and more enhances accessibility and, in turn, boosts SEO friendliness.
  • Later in the article, you will find crucial steps to optimize your website’s digital experience. By integrating ADA-compliant elements, you’re not only catering to one in five Americans with disabilities but also significantly elevating your website’s SEO potential.

From Inaccessibility to Inclusivity: Impact on User Experience

  • While digital accessibility remains lacking on websites and mobile apps, only 5% of major North American brands address disabled consumers’ needs.
  • Prioritizing digital accessibility is essential for differentiating your brand, enhancing the customer experience (CX), and meeting evolving customer expectations.
  • Inaccessible websites frustrate users with disabilities, leading to high bounce rates and negatively impacting paid campaigns.
  • Elevating accessibility improves user experiences, reduces bounce rates, and enhances paid campaign performance by catering to diverse user needs.
  • Christina Mallon, Global Head of Inclusive Design and Accessibility at Wunderman Thompson, highlights that designing for disability benefits all users and can lead to innovative features.
  • Embracing accessibility not only serves specific groups but also enhances overall user experiences, fostering inclusivity and growth.

Using Accessibility for Competitive Advantage

  • Hiring individuals with disabilities can enhance team productivity and morale while also contributing to increased revenue of up to 28% for businesses, as noted by Accenture.
  • Research highlights that actively including people with disabilities in the workforce boosts workplace motivation and brings diverse perspectives and talents that benefit everyone.
  • In the competitive digital realm, any advantage that distinguishes a business is valuable. Web accessibility serves as a differentiator, offering an inclusive website that appeals to a broader audience.
  • An accessible website provides a competitive edge by attracting customers to access digital marketing, thereby setting a brand apart from competitors.

Incorporating people with disabilities into business strategies

1. Disabled Consumer Impact

  • Approximately 1.3 billion people (16% of the global population) are disabled.

2. Purchase Influence

  • 50% influence household buying decisions.
  • Disabled people, friends, and family shape 53% of the global consumer market.

3. Educational Empowerment

  • Disabled university students have doubled in two decades.
  • 19% of postsecondary students have disabilities.

4. Travel Spending

  • North American disabled adults spend $19 million annually on travel.

5. Barriers and Avoidance

  • 80% avoid businesses due to barriers.

6. Business Benefits

  • Companies supporting the disabled see 28% higher revenues, 200% higher incomes, and 30% higher profit margins.

Considering their broad presence, considerable purchasing influence, and active engagement in various aspects of life—from work to digital interactions—including people with disabilities in business, access strategies in digital marketing for outreach, and customer service is a logical step forward.

Fostering a Positive Brand Impression:

Your brand encompasses a blend of elements such as a name, color scheme, symbol, design, logo, messaging, voice, and tone, all working together to set your product or company apart from the rest.

Enabling accessibility on your website paves the way for more individuals to enjoy favorable interactions with your brand.

A website that’s accessible opens up more avenues for word-of-mouth endorsements based on the quality of service and experience you deliver.

Embracing accessibility offers an opportunity to exhibit your social responsibility by showcasing:

  • Your accessibility declaration is a transparent and impactful statement that draws people in.
  • Your Pledge to Accessibility: You can inform people about your significant efforts to enhance digital accessibility through your social media channels, blog articles, and emails.

A brand’s strength lies in its distinctive components while ensuring your website’s accessibility widens its positive impact and fosters brand loyalty.

How Legal Compliance Enhances User Experience

Legal Complications:

  • The Supreme Court’s pivotal decision in October 2019 to decline to review Domino’s Pizza’s case empowered Guillermo Robles, a visually impaired individual, to proceed with his lawsuit.
  • Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Robles claimed his right to access Domino’s website and mobile app, alleging both platforms lacked accessibility for him.
  • This verdict creates a potential surge in lawsuits concerning accessibility, a situation that any reputable brand would certainly prefer to steer clear of.

To mitigate the potential risks of legal complications, it is essential to follow the accessibility standards set by your specific state or country.

Remember these few important acts:

Incorporating accessibility into your Digital Campaign Strategy

Here are some essential steps that you can incorporate to transform your website into an inclusive digital experience for everyone.

1. Alt Text for Images:

  • Use precise, descriptive alt text for images to aid visually impaired users and improve SEO rankings.
  • Screen readers rely on alt text to convey image content and function, enhancing accessibility.

2. Optimized file names and URLs:

  • Choose clear, descriptive file names and URLs for images, videos, and other media. For example, food.jpg is quite understandable compared to IMG3498a.JPG.
  • This helps search engines and screen readers understand the content and context better.

3. Hashtags in Camel Case:

4. Color Contrast for Accessibility:

  • Maintain proper color contrast to accommodate color-blind users.
  • Follow the recommended guidelines to ensure the text is easily distinguishable from the background. For example, red and yellow and blue and pink

5. Keyboard Shortcuts for Navigation:

  • Implement keyboard shortcuts for easy navigation.
  • It benefits users with visual impairments and enhances overall usability. For example, a person with visual impairments finds it more difficult to navigate the cursor of the mouse than using keyboard keys.

A Glimpse into the Future of Web Accessibility Digital Marketing

The pandemic prompted humans to exhibit their best qualities and ethical conduct. Extending this ethos to individuals with disabilities is becoming crucial nowadays.

Since starting in 2015, DEI involvement has grown sixfold, from 80 companies in the first year to 485 in 2023. Inclusive behavior is now embraced by society, and brands prioritize diverse consumer needs.

Elevating Mobile Engagement:

Global mobile users stand at 6 billion, projected to reach 7.6 billion by 2027. Designers must now prioritize both mobile and desktop experiences.

  • 5G expansion fuels mobile phone usage for shopping, ticketing, content creation, and business needs.
  • Thus, web developers should emphasize mobile web accessibility, covering small screen optimization, touch navigation, and slow internet issues.

Enhancing Web Visibility with SEO:

  • SEO is a crucial web accessibility trend, optimizing and structuring webpages for improved usability and navigation, especially for users with disabilities.
  • SEO incorporates factors like proper heading tags, alt text for images, and a clear site hierarchy.
  • Combining SEO with web accessibility solutions is wise, considering its significance as a lead generation source for 60% of marketers.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for accessibility solutions for your website, start with us. At AEL Data, we meet the requirements of ADA and WCAG standards and make your website more accessible to people with disabilities. Reach us today at info@aeldata.com.

Picture of Aditya Bikkani

Aditya Bikkani

Aditya is the COO of AELData, a growing technology company in the Digital Publishing and Education sectors. He is also an entrepreneur and founder of an accessibility tool called LERA. A W3C COGA (Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility) Community Member Aditya contributes to researching methodologies to improve web accessibility and usability for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

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