User experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) have become the new battleground for brands. Everyone is trying to deliver a more seamless, more delightful, and more efficient experience online. This “more” trend further extends to digital marketing—with every company now trying to be more helpful, relevant, and personalized in their communication.
Style publishers should also take note. When online attention is dwindling, a pleasant on-site experience can make or break your relationship with a new visitor.
Before you the hit “publish” once again, take a moment to think about your diverse subscribers. Perhaps, some of them have unique needs compared to others.
What is Web Accessibility?
Accessibility is a label placed on something (a website, an app, an email) that can be used by people of all abilities and disabilities.
There are four main categories of accessibility requirements:
- Auditory: for hearing impaired users.
- Visual: for sight-impaired users including those suffering from color blindness, partial or complete blindness and other vision conditions.
- Motor: for users with physical impairments.
- Cognitive: for users experiencing difficulties with processing information. Such groups can include people with dyslexia, autism and Down’s Syndrome.
Accessibility is not that complex to implement and practice if you’re a blogger. But the payoffs of doing so can be tremendous—your website becomes more inclusive and welcoming to a larger cohort of users. Below you’ll find some bite-sized tips for making your blog and email communication more accessible.
1. Use Strong Contrast Between Text and Background Colors
Choosing well-paired color combos and fonts is important both for aesthetic and accessibility reasons. People with visual impairments can struggle to read your text if the contract isn’t sharp enough. People with dyslexia may also find it difficult to read too small fonts or too creative typefaces.
So for the best effect, follow the next design tips:
- Leave plenty of white space.
- Use a minimum of 14pt font size for desktop, and 16pt for mobile website version.
- Opt for san serif fonts (e.g. Verdana).
- Use lower case letters in most cases. Capitalizing makes your text harder to read for some users.
2. Mind the Paragraph Lengths
Don’t write in tight blocks of texts. Those lengthy monologues are harder to read. Same goes for sentences—keep those up to 50-60 characters on average. Consider alignment to the left as it offers the optimal reading experience.
Plus, set the line-height to 1.5x the size of your text to give your texts some breathing space.
3. GIFs and Animations are Not Always Fun
These moving pics can make your post or email look funkier, but it can add confusion to some readers. Be particularly mindful of too much flashy content as it can cause issues such as vertigo for some readers.
4. Add Alternative Texts On Images
By adding descriptive alt attributes to all your visual assets, you enable screen reading software (used by visually impaired) to pick up this text and read it to the user—so that they can understand what’s on the picture.
Bonus: Optimizing alt tags also improves your SEO rankings for images. Consider this, a double win.
Accessibility on Social Media
Facebook is in the process of rolling out the Dynamic Alt Text Generator—a tool that will generate descriptive captions for images and videos and re-tell those to users. Instagram, obviously, is following suit and plans to deploy a similar tool in the near future. The new algorithm will scan all the images and allow screen readers to capture those details e.g. the list of all items displayed on the picture.
Beyond improving UX for impaired users, this feature also signifies that Instagram content may soon become available for discovery beyond the app, and get indexed by Google.