Building Your Site: Who Needs to be in the Loop for Accessible Website Building

Published March 8, 2023

Statement: Many marketers need to remember to engage their digital and compliance teams during the build and enhancements phase of site builds to avoid issues.

As they say, “teamwork makes the dream work.” Goals are easier to accomplish when everyone is on the same accord, and for website building, this is no different — especially when executing accessibility efforts.

There are a lot of departments that come into play when building a website. 

  • Content

  • User Experience

  • Marketing

  • Product

  • Visual Design

  • Backend and front end

Everyone plays a part in these efforts for smaller companies, and many hats are worn. With so much ground to cover, communication and planning are pivotal, especially if you want to make your organization a leader in digital accessibility.

Here are ways that each department can play a part in creating a digitally accessible website:

Content and Marketing

To create a user-friendly experience for all users, including those with screen readers and cognitive disabilities, use plain language throughout the website. It’s best to skip the jargon and idiomatic language for clarity and brevity. Consider adding a glossary if content is heavy with tech or legal language. For photos, always include meaningful and descriptive alt text.

Ensure marketing efforts are accessible, from social media posts and online ads to email campaigns by following the same rules, which leads us to the next section.

Visual and Graphic Design

Be mindful of color contrast when selecting colors and avoid the following:

  • Red and green

  • Green and brown

  • Green and blue

  • Blue and gray

  • Blue and purple

  • Green and gray

  • Green and black

Make sure all graphics have descriptive captions and alt text so those with visual impairments can still have an understanding when using screen readers. Keep the captions consistent and make sure they share a common form and voice.

If including multimedia elements, include captions that are synchronized with the audio. For the captions, it doesn’t have to be word-for-word, but it should be clear, concise, and get the point across. Also include a transcript as an optional output.

User Experience and Backend

When developing user experience features, keep all users in mind. Users with specific, long-term disabilities may use assistive technology like screen readers, switch devices, screen magnifiers, and more. 

Keyboard navigation is essential for those who don’t use a traditional mouse (for example, those who use Braille keyboards). To go the extra mile, the team can learn how to navigate a webpage using only your keyboard, a screen reader, or features like VoiceOver (available on Mac) to spot-check new features when necessary. By doing this, the team will better understand the technology to create an inclusive, user-friendly experience.

Other Departments 

Departments like Human Resources and customer service staff should also be looped in. While digital communication via websites is important, the same care and consideration should be applied to internal communications and those in “public facing” roles.

Imagine a user interacting with your very accessible website. However they have a question and need to contact customer service. If that representative is not trained to interact efficiently with those with disabilities, that can ruin the entire experience. Check out the following statistics from HubSpot:

  • 90% of Americans use customer service to decide whether or not to do business with a company.

  • 58% of American consumers will switch companies because of poor customer service. 

  • 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience. 

The best way to ensure an accessible experience for staff and customers is to make sure everyone is on the same page. Having departmental training can greatly help ensure accessibility efforts are seen through. 

Event: Design for Accessibility

The first event in our three-part series on Designing, Developing, and Deploying for Accessibility is on Tuesday, May 9th, at 1 PM ET.  This is a complimentary online event.  You don't want to miss industry experts sharing best practices for designing your company's accessibility strategy! Get more information about this event and register here.

The next two events in the series quickly follow. Click the links below for more information and to register for the complimentary events.

Wednesday, May 10th: Develop for Accessibility

Thursday, May 11th: Deploy for Accessibility

Vendor Directory now offers an impartial listing of digital accessibility vendors.  Search for products and services by category, subcategory, or by company name.  Check out our new Vendor Directory here.