Ali combines her personal experience within the disability industry and her skills as an SEO content writer, to create digital strategies for organisations within the NDIS. For more, please visit https://alistrachan.com or find her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/alison-strachan/.
How to make your content accessible to the wider community
Since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was introduced in 2006, there’s been a global shift towards the awareness, inclusion and protection of rights of persons with disabilities. In Australia, with the help of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (the NDIS), we’ve become part of this cultural shift in awareness and inclusion. But there’s one vital element of inclusion that many people are still overlooking. Online accessibility. So how do you create accessible content?
Why should you care about accessible content?
Consumer and employee awareness of global social justice and environmental issues is driving brands to include conscious capitalism as part of their overall strategies. I predict that within the next decade, consumers will drive a greater expectation for big and small brands to act on social issues by incorporating positive and socially responsible practices into each area of their business – from accessible content and inclusive workplace culture, to the environmental impacts of products and innovations in assistive technology. Pro Bono Australia writes,
“Advances in technology are transforming the lives of people with a disability enabling more participation in things that were previously precluded from them, including many workplaces and other life activities.
The move towards societal inclusion for such individuals has a radical positive impact on people with a disability. However even though new technology products and services continue to expand at a seemingly exponential rate, accessibility isn’t always built in – and this is problematic.”
Big brands are already making big changes
Globally, some of the world’s biggest companies are listening and making changes to be more inclusive. Apple has designed 13 new emojis meant to be the starting point in representing a more diverse range of people who identify as having a disability, and Google has added wheelchair accessible routes to their maps of major cities across the world (with plans to expand this across more cities globally).
In Australia, the move towards client-centred care is driving massive growth in the disability sector. And it’s not happening fast enough. NDIS participants aren’t just turning to disability service providers for support, they’re also engaging small, medium sized businesses and larger organisations.
The NDIS is a game changer
The old funding model helped just over 200,000 people with disability with support funding, but the NDIS is expected to be able to help around 460,000 people. In Queensland alone, more than 90,000 people are expected to be accessing NDIS supports by 2019. Not only does this mean that the workforce of support staff needs to double – but there’s also an opportunity for businesses of all sizes and types to be a part of this growing sector too.
What does this mean for you?
It’s more important than ever to ensure your marketing and content is accessible to people with all abilities. Just like search engine optimisation (SEO), the accessibility of your content and your language matters. It’s time to pay attention to the availability of your digital content marketing.
“You don’t get to decide which platform or device your customers use to access your content: they do.” — Karen McGrane, Content Strategy for Mobile
How do you ensure your content marketing is accessible?
People with a disability are resourceful and flexible and have learned to use the tools at their disposal to access what information they can online. Inclusive design principles have come a long way in the last decade, but they need to become part of the norm in everything we do. Where this isn’t 100% achievable, assistive technology does help – but for it to work, your content also needs to be in an accessible format.
Answer me this: Why wouldn’t you want your products or services can be accessed by a wider section of the community?
Over to you
Have you given much thought to how accessible your digital content is? Stay tuned for part two in this series for actionable steps to help ensure your website is accessible to everyone.
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