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How to make sure your digital marketing campaign is accessible to all

Approximately 16 million people in the UK live with a disability, which makes up approximately 24% of the population. Despite this significant number, disabled individuals frequently face excessive exclusion in marketing, be it in terms of representation or the incorporation of digital accessibility features.

Moreover, businesses are recognising the myriad benefits of digital accessibility, with key points highlighting its significance. Firstly, compliance with regional accessibility standards, such as those outlined by W3C and WCAG, not only helps avoid legal issues and potential lawsuits but also establishes a commitment to inclusivity.

Additionally, digital accessibility enhances branding by catering to the needs of differently-abled individuals, fostering a positive image among customers. Furthermore, it plays a pivotal role in boosting search engine rankings, as incorporating features like alt text for images and videos aligns with Google's reliance on text to understand the content.

This, in turn, improves visibility and ranking in search results. The impact on return on investment is substantial, as well-planned digital accessibility efforts can yield significant returns, outweighing associated costs. Lastly, digital accessibility enhances usability, ensuring that the website accommodates users with diverse limitations, ultimately contributing to the overall success of the business online.

With that being said, here are some best practices you can incorporate to include accessibility in digital marketing:

1. Content accessibility

Alt text for images

Ensure your marketing materials are inclusive by including descriptive alternative text for images. This small but impactful addition assists users who rely on screen readers, giving them a meaningful description of the visual content.

Alt-text enhances inclusivity by providing a descriptive experience for users with visual impairments and contributes significantly to improving Google search engine rankings. As Google relies on text to interpret images and media content, integrating alt-text becomes a crucial element in elevating the visibility and accessibility of your website in search engine results.

Clear and readable fonts

Use clear, legible fonts with an appropriate size and contrast. This not only enhances readability for users with visual impairments but also improves the overall user experience for all your audience. Here are some examples: Helvetica Neue, Arial, OpenDyslexic and Verdana.

Captioned content and transcripts

Make your multimedia content accessible by providing captions for videos and transcripts for audio. This accommodates users with hearing impairments, ensuring they can engage with your content seamlessly.

2. Inclusive design

Universal design principles

Incorporate universal design principles into your marketing materials. This ensures that your content is accessible to a wide range of users without the need for adaptation, fostering an inclusive digital environment.

Colour contrast

Consider colour contrast when designing your content. Ensure sufficient contrast between text and background to make the content readable for users with visual impairments. Ensure that the colours have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1. You can use online tools to check colour contrast ratio such as this one.

3. Call on lived experience

Bring people into the process

Include individuals from the community in the early stages of your marketing campaign. Their input can provide valuable insights, helping you create a more authentic and user-friendly experience.

Continuous testing

Test your campaign throughout its development to identify and address potential accessibility issues. Continuous testing allows for refinement, ensuring your campaign is as inclusive as possible.

4. Multilingual accessibility

Translations for key content

Provide translations for key content to reach a diverse, multilingual audience. This expands your reach and ensures that individuals from different linguistic backgrounds understand your message.

Cultural sensitivity

Be mindful of cultural nuances and sensitivities in your marketing messaging. Tailor your content to resonate with diverse cultural backgrounds, avoiding any accidental misunderstandings.

Extra tip for website accessibility

Several online tools provide assessments of website accessibility. They can be valuable allies in assisting your technical team in identifying and rectifying issues related to this matter. I recommend Google Lighthouse.

5. Accessible social media

In addition to captioned content and alt text, here are some specific suggestions for social media accessibility:


Employ straightforward language and steer clear of acronyms, if possible.

Accessible hashtags

Create and promote accessible hashtags that are easy to read and understand. Use “CamelCase” for hashtags, capitalising the first letter of each word. This will facilitate screen readers reading the words individually rather than as incoherent words. For example, #AccessibleContent, #BeInclusive.

Emojis and emoticons

Screen readers provide detailed descriptions for emojis, which is generally beneficial. However, it's advisable to use them moderately and ensure adequate spacing between words and emojis. Emoticons, represented by text-like "( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)", may pose challenges for comprehension, especially when read aloud by a screen reader. The individual characters are vocalised without conveying the intended meaning, making the use of emoticons discouraged for accessibility reasons.

Incorporating accessibility into your digital marketing campaign is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic business decision. By adopting these practices, you broaden your audience and create a positive brand image by demonstrating your commitment to inclusivity. In the rapidly changing digital landscape, accessibility is not just an option - it's a fundamental aspect of successful and responsible digital marketing.

Article written by Nastacha de Avila, digital marketing manager at The Centre for Inclusive Leadership

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