Optimising text for people with accessibility issues

Is ensuring that your content is accessible for everyone something you need to consider when creating it?

27/08/20

Elizabeth Cromwell

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Is ensuring that your content is accessible for everyone something you need to consider when creating it?


A lot of people tend to assume that site developers will take care of this, that social media network will take care of this, or that people with accessibility issues will figure it out, but this is not necessarily the case. If you create content that cannot easily be accessed by those with accessibility issues, you risk shutting out a large group of people, some of which could be within your target market.  


According to UK government statistics, at least 1 in 5 people have a disability (long or short term) or impairment. This equates to 20% of your potential audience that you can’t afford, ethically and financially, to neglect.


When you think of social media, do you think of images and videos? Social media platforms began with text only; here are just a few ways in which you may already be sharing text online:

  • Tweets

  • LinkedIn posts

  • Direct messages

  • Facebook page updates

There are so many more ways, but these are the most common. 


Every time you share text online, you need to think about how easy it will be for your audience to read it. There’s a reason why most social platforms use the default font of ‘sans-serif’ – it’s easier for most people to read. You can apply text converters if you wish to use non-standard fonts; however, you would be prioritising style over accessibility. 


Many people with accessibility issues struggle with emojis; however, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. If you want to use emojis in your post, make sure that they’re not in place of keywords - just add them in for fun.


Keep your text short and to the point without unnecessarily complicated grammar to help your audience access your content. 


There are so many distractions online and so many voices try to be heard. This perpetual ‘noise’ continually competes for people’s attention; it’s difficult enough to get your content seen above everything else. If you do find someone eager to read your posts, don’t make it any harder for them to do so.


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