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Take More Social Responsibility By Increasing Your Accessibility Online

We’re living in a time where social responsibility is at an all-time high. More and more business of all sizes are committed to positively enacting change, and are committed to one or more social causes that they believe in. There’s a great benefit for businesses that emphasize social responsibility: it builds trust in your brand. It shows your customers that you care about the world around you and the people in. In turn, when people purchase from your brand or hire your service, they feel as if they are also doing their part and supporting causes that matter.

One such cause that many corporations are investing in right now (both emotionally and financially) is making the internet as accessible as possible for all users, regardless of disabilities or limitations they may have. This goes beyond the typical user experience most websites are designed with in mind.

The United States has recently passed legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of public accommodations (such as internet usage.)  There are currently accessibility legislations in place in Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. These do not currently apply to Western Canada (Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC) but we can only assume that it is just a matter of time before these legislations are nationwide. No one should be denied access to public information. Not only is it important to get on board with more accessible internet for all users from a social responsibility aspect, but it will also allow Canadian businesses to better compete with their American counterparts.

Common Accessibility Issues to be Aware Of

While you’ve probably gotten a handle on guidelines for UX, there are additional elements to consider when it comes to making your website more accessible for all users. There is a vast array of barriers users may encounter that you should consider when designing for accessibility. These include but are not limited to:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Seizures
  • Learning/cognitive

These barriers may be permanent, recurring, or temporary. Ability barriers can also arise for any users, such as incidental (think sleep deprivation) or environmental. You will never know exactly who is trying to access your website. While it’s impossible to design your website with a solution for every barrier at once, you make a difference (and improve overall user experience) with every website designed to break down any barrier.

Designing for Accessibility

When building a website with accessibility in mind, there are some essential guidelines to follow, many of them being fairly easy to implement. These include:

  • Use header tags in your text
  • Use alt-text on images
  • Improve visibility via high contrast and mindful colour selection
  • Refer to shapes (e.g. “click the star button”)
  • Use closed captions/subtitles on videos and make transcripts available where you can for audio content
  • Make your content easily understandable and well organized
  • Ensure links are not too small, and use icons where applicable

And more. There are now several tools available to help you conduct accessibility audits and ensure that your website is accommodating to as many people as possible.

Corporate Social Responsibility Influences Your Customers’ Decisions

Both businesses and consumers alike are well aware that our world is far from a perfect place. Even in our evolved and enlightened society, we are still rife with economic issues, disease, social injustices, and even war. The difference between now and even 10 years ago is that we are more involved with trying to better the world around us. Corporate social responsibility can have a massive impact on how the public perceives your company, and how they interact with you.

People want to be part of something positive and are much more likely to support your brand if you practice social responsibility and give them something to feel good about. If you are serious about your corporate social responsibility, not only are people more likely to purchase your product or service, but they will promote your business too. A study conducted back in 2015 showed that 80% of consumers would tell their friends and family about a company’s corporate social responsibility efforts. And the importance and passion of CSR has only grown in the past 7 years.

With so much doom and gloom to share on social media and in person, people are happy to share something they feel good about! Make sure that your business and social responsibility commitments (such as increased internet accessibility for all) is one of those things.

Small Changes Make a Big Difference

The power of the world wide web lies in the fact that it provides a wealth of information and knowledge to everyone all over the world. We have now learned that many people have trouble accessing that knowledge, and it does not have to be that way. To learn more about web accessibility and how you can make a difference with your web design, call Smart WSI Marketing today!

Lynne team member
Lynne Motkoski, Marketing Strategist
Specialty: Online Marketing Strategies
Education: MA Communications & Technology, BComm [U Alberta]
Author: The Online Marketing Handbook for Busy Entrepreneurs (coming soon)

Lynne is known for her strategic approach to marketing communications, technologies, and lead generation. She has a passion for education, keeping up with current marketing trends and practices, and helping clients keep ahead of their competition.


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