Digital Accessibility Strategy: an introduction

Andrei Cucleschin, 05 September 2019

Digital Accessibility

Nowadays it has become increasingly important for businesses to ensure that their content complies to a digital accessibility strategy. Those strategies are made to improve the user experience for people with disabilities, such as hard-of-hearing or poor vision.

More precise rules and regulations are defined in the EU directive 2016/2102 and US Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 508. Although these rules are mandatory only on the governmental or federal level, individuals and businesses in the private sector are encouraged to adopt them to support the good cause.

How to address a Digital Accessibility Strategy?

There are 3 steps involved in making sure that your Digital Accessibility Strategy is successful:

how to address digital accessibility

1) Build awareness in your organization

If you want people to change their routine way of working and start thinking about the disadvantaged users – you have to raise awareness of this issue. There are a few ways to spread the message across your coworkers:

  • Organize workshops

Introduce your colleagues to the subject of digital accessibility by running workshops and tutorials. You can cover all the important topics in about 30 min, but this will be enough to convey the message.

  • Include digital accessibility articles in your corporate newsletter

Simply look up some good resources, that talk on this topic and send them to your colleagues, who are in charge of content creation.

  • Print one of those articles or policies and stick them to the news boards around your office.

The old-fashioned way is definitely not a bad way to do it.

2) Use the Following Strategy to Comply with Digital Accessibility Standards

  • Make your visual content descriptive

That’s very easy to do!  Just make sure to add tags to your images. Usually it’s a brief description of what’s displayed on the picture. (125 characters or less). If your images are complex graphs, diagrams and anything as such – provide a description under the image.

Strategy to Comply with Digital Accessibility Standards

Example: Let’s say we want to look at the GDP of the U.S.A. in the last few years. Below you can see the graph and a short description, highlighting the main take-away.

GDP of the United States has risen from $18.7 trillion in 2016 to $20.49 trillion in 2018

GDP of the United States has risen from $18.7 trillion in 2016 to $20.49 trillion in 2018

  • Add subtitles to your video content.

Millions of videos are being watched every day. Subtitling your videos has a number of benefits, including accessibility compliance. Here’s a link to our blog post, that describes how to add subtitles to your videos automatically, using our speech-to-text software.

  • Provide transcripts for your audio content.

With new technologies it has become very easy to transcribe audio files – interviews, recordings, podcasts and so on. For Amberscript it  works in the following way: upload an audio file, make some quick adjustments and export your document.

Besides increased accessibility, it’s much easier to navigate and find relevant information in text documents, which makes transcription a smart thing to do.

  • Structure your content in a clear, logical way

People with poor vision have a much harder time navigating through the web, compared to regular consumers. Thus, make sure that you use headings and include a table of contents (when necessary) to bring a neat structure to your content.

  • Provide link description

Blog posts usually include a high number of hyperlinks, both internal and external. Make sure to describe where the page is going to take the user before inserting a link. This will add value to user experience, as people won’t have to guess whether your link is relevant to them or not. Again, for people with disabilities, it’s not that easy to find relevant information on the webpage.

  • Check whether your website is accessible to color-blind users.

There is an online tool called “Check my colours”, that might assist you in the process. Just copy-paste the URL of your website, and this website will run a check on the main criteria for color accessibility: contrast ratio, brightness difference and color difference. In case you want to learn more on how to approach visuals of your website for accessibility, this post on Improving the Color Accessibility for Color-Blind Users features a good guideline.

check list

3) Enforce Digital Accessibility standards in online and digital content

Now that you’ve developed a great action plan – all you need to do is make sure that it’s being implemented in the right way. You can assign a person within your organization, who would monitor the accessibility of the website and its content.

Digital Accessibility services

Amberscript proudly supports digital accessibility strategies by providing high-quality automatic transcription. Learn more about our services on our homepage.

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