Content Strategy & Accessibility: A Love Story

by Luna Tidrick

This story began long ago even before our society was literate. They worked together to emote, describe, and help others find what they were looking for with symbols and pictures. Even though many years have passed since they first met, they continue to grow in love for one another and share their many talents with the world.

Here are some of the ways they contribute:

They love working together.

In other words, content strategy and accessibility help each other communicate to an audience efficiently and effectively. They choose to be descriptive and honest about where the user will go. For example, through a button or CTA (call-to-action). They know that by making simple changes like this, the digital world can become more accessible to all who want to take part.

They’re always up for a good challenge.

Together, content strategy and accessibility understand that it can be difficult to account for all types of audiences. Since creating for inclusion means “including and learning from people with a range of perspectives,” finding a solution is not always an “easy fix.” They take into account as much information as they can about their audience in order to offer a clean and nondisruptive experience.

They want to help make your business efficient and effective.

Since empathy comes naturally to them, content strategy and accessibility always think about their users and how they can facilitate experiences. They know that users with disabilities are a vastly overlooked and underserved community that only wish to consume products and content similar to the rest of the population. As a 51.2 million consumer group, those with disabilities pack approximately $175 billion in their wallets not including Boomers who will most likely accumulate impairments such as vision loss. By acknowledging this, they know they can help businesses be inclusive, but also be a voice for the many different users.

They strive to educate about their existence

Recently, they brought our attention to a website that overlooked specific users–those with visual impairments. Although Beyoncé is admired by many, she and her company neglected to meet accessibility standards. The court found that “many important pictures on beyonce.com lack a text equivalent” and as a result, “blind beyonce.com customers are unable to determine what is on the website, browse the website and/or make purchases.” Their hope is that companies will realize how important their partnership is when serving customers and be proactive about their solutions.

Lastly, they embrace user imperfections

To them, it’s all about perspective. They recognize that we aren’t all perfect. They understand that we, as users, have different abilities and disabilities that we are proud of, but also embarrassed/reserved about. In response, companies such as Dunkin’ acknowledge and commit to facilitating simple things like viewing their website with higher visual contrast.

If you’d like to promote their love story consider these exercises:

Practice writing alternate text

Practice getting your alt text right. Since its purpose is to communicate what’s in an image for those using screen readers or assistive technologies, make sure to provide a colorful description. 
Pro tip: Imagine you’re on the phone with someone and try to describe what you see in the picture. This will give you a good idea on what your alt text should say.

Use headings, titles, and links

For users to understand your web pages with screen readers there needs to be structure and content hierarchy. Sometimes we overlook using headings and descriptive links which can actually be very beneficial for those looking for certain kinds of information.
Pro tips: Create titles that are unique to their page, use headings to explain what’s on the page with hierarchy, and always explain where the user will go when they click on a link.

Empathize with users

When you can’t seem to understand various perspectives, use this “Empathy Maker” that generates multiple scenarios of different user needs.
Example: Alex has an arm injury and is in a car.

Luna Tidrick