Eight Ways to Ensure Digital Marketing is ADA Compliant

April 04, 2024
Keyboard showcasing ADA-compliant marketing with three blue keys: one with a wheelchair-accessible icon, one with the deaf icon, and one with the blind icon.

Working under the banner of DEI—diversity, equity and inclusion—it’s key to remember that inclusion ecompasses details like ADA-compliant websites and marketing tactics.

ADA-compliant marketing assets are vital because they ensure that all audiences can access your content and understand your message. There is no value in shortchanging your economic development or talent attraction efforts by cutting some people out of the conversation.

Instead, embrace these eight practices to maximize your brand’s visibility and be sure no business or job-seeker feels excluded from your location’s attraction efforts.

1. Alt Text & Captions

It’s a practice that’s well documented, but still new to many marketers and web builders. Including alt text on all images and multimedia is vital for those with vision impairments. Furthermore, captions and audio descriptions on all videos ensures better access to your visual marketing assets. 

Check out this handy resource for a primer on what alt text actually is, if you don’t know.

2. Keyboard Access

For any desktop website, functionality and content must be accessible via a keyboard. Consider a trackpad or mouse as a luxury that not all of your site’s visitors will have. Discuss with your web developer how to ensure maximal accessibility using the keyboard, harkening back to the days when—if you can remember—computers didn’t even have a mouse.

Avoid keyboard traps where users get stuck in a particular section of a website. All interactive elements should be navigable using the keyboard, and there should be a clear focus order.

3. Focus Indicators

Ensuring that your focus indicators are obvious and clear is vital. These are the elements on the screen that highlight interactive elements to ensure they are perceivable and usable by audiences. For many web users, they are easy to follow, but that’s not always the case. Those using screen readers or those with limited mobility will benefit from having optimal focus indicators throughout your website.

4. Consistent Navigation

Getting lost on a website can be frustrating, if not so off-putting that potential leads may click away. How many times have you clicked out of a website to start over again because you couldn’t clearly get back to a certain page? Having consistent navigation menus and structures throughout a website is vital to keeping users on track, and preventing users with certain disabilities from feeling discouraged.

Unless there’s something to hide on your website, there’s no reason for users to get lost throughout your pages.

5. Text-to-Speech Compatibility

For blind web users or those who cannot otherwise read your text effectively, there is a solution. Text-to-Speech compatibility for website copy is essential for those with visual impairments, among others. In conjunction with resizable text, these features ensure that your words can be heard and seen by a greater audience on your ADA compliant website.

6. Easier Forms

There are numerous ways to facilitate your online forms. First and foremost, be sure they are labeled clearly with instructions. Confusing or contradictory forms are a headache for any user, disabled or not. 

Building clearer forms will create a more ADA-compliant website while also augmenting the chances that people will actually connect with you.

7. Color Contrast

Websites can be highly visual creations where you choose colors that look good—but they need to be functional, as well. Ensure sufficient color contrast between text and backgrounds to make content readable for people with visual impairments. 

What’s clear to one person won’t be clear to everyone who visits your site.

8. Document Accessibility

Ensure that downloadable documents like PDFs, Word documents, and all others are also ADA compliant by providing alternative formats or text descriptions for non-text content within these documents. Also, when at all possible, do not provide scans or images of documents as they are not accessible through screen readers and other tools.

That’s just the start. For a full evaluation and recommendations on how to build a more ADA-compliant website and marketing assets, get in touch with Susan Brake at [email protected]. DCI’s Digital team is excited to work with you to ensure you’re taking the most inclusive approach possible to your digital output.

Headshot photo of Susan Brake
Written by

Susan Brake