Laws; not the most fun and interesting activities in the marketing profession, but in my opinion a very important one. Many of the laws make for less easy, personal, and/or inspiring marketing communications. However, you can also see them as frameworks to work within. And that’s where you can also find opportunities. One of the laws that I learned to work with is the law for web accessibility (more info on this law).
When I first heard about this law, I didn’t know what it was. Nor was I aware of a target group that is hard of hearing -deaf, visually impaired-blind, or low-literate. And that while my mother is a little hard of hearing. I know she hates it if she doesn’t understand conversations at a party. She also puts her mobile on speaker when she receives a call. This seems like a very simple solution, but what if you can no longer turn up your mobile volume? It turns out that about 25% of the 17 million inhabitants in the Netherlands have this kind of disability, which is quite a large group.
As a marketer, I feel a responsibility to create content that is available to everyone. At KVK, I don’t do that by myself. For example, I work with colleagues on various content forms. And each content has its own adjustments.
Podcasts with transcripts
When our podcasts go online, we ensure that the website where we mention the podcast also contains a link to a page with the transcript. For the marketer, a page that is not necessarily sexy. Transcripts are mainly functional. To make it accessible to anyone, you can also listen to the podcast on that page. Why? You have a group that would like to read along in addition to listening. So you offer an extra option.
Easy to read articles (for screen readers)
When my colleagues write articles for my projects, it is up to them to place the language level at B1 level. I check and read whether the texts are understandable for my target group and if my message is properly added. My content editors don’t have to worry about the technical side either. After all, our IT colleagues have adapted the website so that screen readers understand which language is spoken and which content can be read.
When we develop videos, we make sure to add subtitles. It is an extra step during development, but you make sure that everyone can read along.
Contrast in visuals
When developing your corporate identity, it is easy to ensure that there is a contrast in text, buttons, and backgrounds, when you work with images (stock images or photography) this suddenly becomes a lot more difficult. Fortunately, there are guidelines for this, and with a little empathy, you can get along easily. When I shoot or select photos myself, I make sure that I have a quiet background and that my subject is clearly visible. I prefer to have 1 focus point. This also makes any alt text for your image much easier to describe.
A number of guidelines of web accessibility guidelines are actually not complicated at all and can be applied quickly and easily. However, this requires you to think differently about the content of your content. In the preparation it is best to take into account, for example:
• Timing: arranging / writing a transcript takes more time.
• B1 level: when developing content you will have to think and find out what the B1 level is before you start. And how you deal with technical terms.
• If you work with other people, you will have to steer them at the language level. Especially with video and podcasts, it’s important to talk about this before your shoot.
Advantages when your website and content is web-accessible:
• The technical adjustments make your website more user-friendly for everyone.
• Due to the technical adjustments, Google also understands your website better.
• Your content is available both visually and hearingly.
• Home speakers can more easily scroll your website to answer certain questions.
• By writing your text at B1 level, your text becomes readable for about 80% of the Dutch. In addition, the text will be easier to understand for a foreigner who speaks a little bit of Dutch.
Note: My own site does not yet meet all web accessibility guidelines. I manage these in my scarce spare time, so I do something every now and then. I try to write the blog articles on an understandable level from now on, just as the images I select contain a high contrast. I am also aware that my house style could use an update. So I still have plenty to do in that respect and I see this as every step in the right direction helps.