The importance of accessibility in MarTech goes beyond mere compliance with legal standards; it represents a fundamental shift towards creating more inclusive, engaging, and equitable digital experiences. 

This trend is not just about avoiding penalties or adhering to regulations; it's about recognizing the vast, untapped potential that accessibility brings to digital marketing strategies. 

In this article, we’ll explore why you should make your website more accessible and best practices on how you can do that. 

Benefits of Accessibility in MarTech

The benefits of prioritizing accessibility in MarTech are multifaceted, impacting both organizations and their audiences in profound ways.

  • Expanded Reach and Market Penetration: By implementing accessibility measures, organizations can significantly expand their reach to include the over one billion people worldwide who live with some form of disability. This demographic represents a substantial and largely under-served market segment. Accessible digital content ensures that more people can interact with brands, access information, and make purchases, thereby increasing potential market penetration and revenue streams.
  • Enhanced User Experience and Satisfaction: Accessibility improvements often lead to a better user experience for all users, not just those with disabilities. Features such as clear navigation, readable fonts, and alternative text for images enhance the overall usability of digital platforms. This can lead to increased user satisfaction, higher engagement rates, and improved customer loyalty, as users are more likely to return to websites and platforms that are easy to use and navigate.
  • Competitive Advantage: In a crowded digital marketplace, offering an accessible digital experience can differentiate a brand from its competitors. Companies that prioritize accessibility are seen as socially responsible and inclusive, attributes that can enhance brand image and reputation. As consumers become more aware of and value inclusivity, they are more likely to favor brands that demonstrate a commitment to accessibility.
  • Improved SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) benefits from accessibility efforts as well. Many accessibility practices, such as providing alternative text for images and ensuring content is structured logically, also help improve a site's SEO. This is because search engines favor websites that are well-organized, easily navigable, and contain high-quality, accessible content, leading to higher search rankings and increased visibility.
  • Reduced Legal Risk: Adhering to accessibility standards can significantly reduce the risk of legal challenges and compliance issues. With increasing awareness and enforcement of accessibility laws around the world, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States, organizations face legal and financial repercussions for non-compliance. By proactively addressing accessibility, companies can avoid costly lawsuits and fines, protecting their reputation and bottom line.
  • Social Responsibility and Inclusion: Prioritizing accessibility reflects an organization's commitment to social responsibility and inclusion. By ensuring digital content is accessible to individuals with disabilities, companies send a powerful message about their values and their recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion. This not only benefits users with disabilities but also contributes to a more inclusive society.

 

Key Accessibility Insights and Trends

Here are some key accessibility insights and trends marketers should consider:

  • Rapid Adoption of Digital Accessibility PoliciesMore than 70% of organizations have now implemented digital accessibility policies, recognizing the crucial role of accessibility in enhancing user experience, customer satisfaction, and brand reputation​​.
  • Awareness vs. Implementation Gap: Despite high confidence levels among professionals regarding their organizations' digital accessibility, there's a noticeable gap in actual compliance. This is highlighted by the fact that 40% of organizations faced legal action over accessibility issues within the past year, pointing to a disconnect between perceived and actual accessibility standards​​.
  • Executive vs. Practitioner Perspectives: There's a significant difference in perception between senior leaders and accessibility practitioners within organizations. While nearly half of the senior leaders believe their accessibility practices are highly developed, less than a quarter of practitioners share this optimism, indicating a potential misalignment in understanding and resources dedicated to accessibility initiatives​​.
  • Emerging Technologies and Accessibility: Innovations such as AI and generative learning are making it easier to advance digital accessibility. For example, Microsoft's introduction of "shopper copilot" features in Dynamics 365 is a testament to how technology can be leveraged to improve accessibility through automation and personalized customer experiences​​.
  • The Role of MarTech in Accessibility: The MarTech landscape is evolving, with a significant increase in solutions designed to support accessibility. The sector saw an 18.5% growth in just six months, indicating a vibrant ecosystem where new tools and applications are continually emerging to address accessibility challenges​​.

How Can Website Owners Improve Website Accessibility?

Website owners can significantly improve the accessibility of their websites by adopting several key practices that ensure their sites can be easily navigated and understood by all users, including those with disabilities. Here are some actionable steps to enhance website accessibility:

  • Use Semantic HTML: Proper use of HTML elements like headings, lists, and links can help screen readers interpret the structure and navigate content more effectively.
  • Ensure Keyboard Navigation: Make sure all interactive elements are navigable with a keyboard alone. This includes links, forms, buttons, and custom widgets.
  • Provide Alternative Text for Images: Use alt attributes to describe images. This helps users who rely on screen readers to understand the content conveyed by images.
  • Ensure Sufficient Contrast: Text should have a high contrast ratio against its background to be easily readable by people with visual impairments. Tools like the WebAIM Contrast Checker can help evaluate your site's color contrast.
  • Use ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) Landmarks: When necessary, use ARIA roles and properties to enhance accessibility, particularly for dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies.
  • Include Skip Navigation Links: These allow users to skip to the main content or specific sections of a page, improving navigation for screen reader users and those who rely on keyboards.
  • Create Accessible Forms: Label form elements clearly, provide instructions, and ensure error messages are accessible. This helps users understand how to complete and submit forms.
  • Offer Text Transcripts and Captions for Audio and Video: Providing transcripts for audio and captions for video content makes your multimedia accessible to users who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Test with Screen Readers: Regularly test your site with screen readers and other assistive technologies to understand how your site is experienced by users with visual impairments.
  • Follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG): Adhere to the WCAG guidelines, which offer a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Conduct Accessibility Audits: Use tools like the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to identify and fix accessibility issues on your website.
  • Educate Your Team: Ensure that your web developers, designers, and content creators are knowledgeable about accessibility guidelines and best practices.

 

The Way Forward

For marketers, making accessibility a non-negotiable part of their strategy is essential as we navigate the omnichannel landscape of 2024.

 By integrating accessible design principles and leveraging new technologies, organizations can ensure their digital experiences are inclusive, thereby reaching a wider and more diverse audience. 

This shift not only fulfills a moral and legal obligation but also aligns with strategic business objectives, opening up new avenues for engagement and innovation in the digital realm.

 

In conclusion, as digital platforms become increasingly central to our daily lives, the importance of accessibility in MarTech cannot be overstated. 

It's a trend that represents both a challenge and an opportunity for marketers aiming to create inclusive, engaging, and effective digital experiences for all users.

At OPTASY, we're focused on making your website accessible to everyone. We're committed to making websites more inclusive and compliant with legal standards, enhancing the brand's reputation along the way.

Ready to make your website welcoming to everyone? Let's work together to open up your digital doors wider. Contact OPTASY today, and let's turn accessibility into your website's strength.

 

Photo credit: Unsplash.

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