Enhancing your Digital Accessibility
How to grow an inclusive business audience
With today being Global Accessibility Awareness Day, it’s an opportunity to reflect on your business’s digital strategy. Not just how to comply with accessibility standards, but ensure equal access and inclusivity for your audience. In this post, we’ll discuss practical steps to enhance digital accessibility and how it can benefit your business.
Why Is Digital Accessibility Important?
As the GAAD Foundation states, digital accessibility is how someone with a disability can experience web-based services, content and digital products with the same successful outcomes as those without disabilities. WebAIM found 98.1% of home pages tested had at least one failure to the WCAG 2.0 standard, meaning people with disabilities are being underserved by our current digital offering.
Introducing digital accessibility into your business practices will have several positives outcomes for both your customers and your business:
- Create equal access to information, products and services for all people
- Comply with New Zealand’s Human Rights Act and Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
- Expand your customer reach by accessing larger market segments including people with disabilities which account for approximately 25% of New Zealanders
- Strengthen your brand image by demonstrating commitment to inclusivity and accessibility
How to improve digital accessibility?
1. Understand international accessibility standards
Familiarise yourself with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. This covers how online content operates, and is perceivable and understandable for various accessibility needs.
2. Conduct an accessibility audit
You can use automated tools or manually review your website, mobile apps and other digital platforms. You may wish to engage an accessibility expert to improve your digital offering which you can apply for our Business Advice Members Subsidy to do.
3. Provide alternative text for images
Add descriptive alt-text to images on your website and social media to ensure that screen readers can interpret and convey information to users with visual impairment.
4. Caption videos
Provide captions/subtitles and transcripts for your videos
5. Enhance website navigation
Create clear and consistent navigation menus, headings and labels. You should also think about alternative navigation methods such as keyboard-only.
6. Improve readability
Use clear, easily-read fonts and ensure a strong colour contrast between text and background.
7. Hire an expert and implement accessibility training
When designing or developing new digital content, ensure you and your team undertake education regarding digital accessibility principles and techniques. A good starting point is Digital Boost which hosts many free videos, courses and diagnostic tools. Or you can use our Advice & Training Subsidy to let your staff participate in a training course.
8. Test and seek feedback
Engage users with disabilities to test and provide feedback on your digital platforms. Test with assistive technologies like screen readers and keyboard-only navigation. This firsthand input can help identify areas for improvement and refine your accessibility efforts.
While this is simply an overview, we encourage you to begin your own research and initiatives toward digital accessibility. We all have a part to play in creating a more inclusive digital landscape that values diversity.
Remember that if you are updating your digital platforms for accessibility, members are eligible to apply for our e-Commerce Subsidy or Marketing Subsidy to undertake this work. Contact us at email@example.com to find out the best subsidy you can use.