11 ways to strengthen the digital inclusion mindset company-wide

"What is one way to get everyone involved in strengthening the diversity and inclusion mindset for better web accessibility?"

To help you strengthen your organization’s diversity and inclusion mindset for better web accessibility we asked business professionals and leaders this question for their insights. From normalizing web accessibility to rethinking the way you organize your content, there are several ways to improve web accessibility.

Below, we identify 5 ways to strengthen the digital inclusion mindset, and 6 ways to help you kick start improvements. 

5 ways to strengthen the digital inclusion mindset

  1. Normalize web-accessibility
    No one thinks it’s odd when a brick-and-mortar business works to ensure their premises are accessible to disabled people; the same should be true of content in the digital space. It should be accessible to all. 

    The more people you help realize this, the better. And one way of doing this is by involving users in the process directly. At Paradox, we normalize web accessibility with our conversational AI assistant Olivia. We highly value our clients and their feedback to make this a reality.

    Josh Zywein, Paradox

  2. Take an assessment of the organization first
    Before you can make any changes, you must first assess where your company stands in terms of readiness to make the change. This is a great opportunity to examine where your company stands in terms of what level of inclusivity in web accessibility already exists. 

    Once you have a clear picture of your current situation, you will be able to see what you need to work on, what will truly make a difference, and where to begin.

    Spiros Skolarikis, Comidor

  3. Foster diverse thinking
    You put your company in a good position to think in culturally-varied ways when you make an effort to make web accessibility a company-wide goal. However, in order for different points of view to stick, inclusion must be considered. 

    This is significant because people from different backgrounds and generations might have dramatically different attitudes on a variety of problems. This can include how they compose emails and what assistive technology and web accessibility factors matter most to them. 

    So, understanding thinking patterns is crucial and not just for an individual employee or even a small team or department; it's also necessary for them to know and comprehend what other individuals at the organization need. 

    Encouraging and nurturing diverse thinking can help you generate innovative ideas and gain meaningful feedback. It also allows you to  foster an environment where everyone feels important and part of a common goal.

    Guy Katabi, Lightkey

  4. Start simple with alt-text
    A really easy way to get everyone on board for providing better web accessibility is to teach them about adding alt-text to captions and images. It's really simple to implement into their routine, similar to how hashtags became part of our norm. 

    Employees should be encouraged to continue finding other ways to make web content more inclusive and accessible. This is an easy way to get them in that mindset, but it should continue as a constant conversation topic.

    Nicholas Vasiliou, BioHealth Nutrition

  5. Take cues from google search
    One of the most important groups to reach with this mindset is website owners and builders. And we can learn a lot from how Google influences this group. 

    For example, when Google wants the internet to be more accessible to people on mobile devices or slow connections, it incentivizes website owners to update their sites by awarding higher search rankings to those who do. 

    Similarly, we can show website owners the benefits of making their websites more accessible. For instance, by adding tags and descriptive captions to images, you make those images not only more accessible to humans but to robots, too. 

    The result will be higher search placements and a more successful website or business.
    Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding

6 ways to help you kick-start your efforts

  1. Prioritize accessibility when designing experiences
    Take accessibility into account when designing online experiences from the start. By considering the full spectrum of needs of your users, you’ll be able to create default experiences that serve a diverse audience. 

    For example, our compliance training videos are engaging and inclusive for employees. That’s because they use animation that allows them to visualize compliance language, while also offering closed captions for those who need or want it.

    Nick Santora, Curricula

  2. Allow for alternative communication paths
    Enabling more than one route of contact to businesses and institutions with an online presence is crucial for web accessibility. 

    Sometimes, it can mean allowing email or chat contact on top of online forms that only accept specific input. Other times, the possibility to converse with a human may be required to solve someone's unusual trouble, which a chatbot couldn't address. 

    Everyone can contribute to this by making adjustments in their business or performing their job duties.

    Michael Sena, SENACEA

  3. Maintain simplicity in your copywriting
    Accessible content is clear and straightforward. Simple as that. Keeping your material simple, concise, and free of jargon will allow you to reach a broader audience. 

    In addition, it will make it easier for those with cognitive difficulties, non-native speakers, or learning challenges to read and interpret your content.

    Sumit Bansal, TrumpExcel

  4. Support keyboard navigation
    Keyboard accessibility is an important component of the larger picture of website accessibility. A keyboard can be the primary means of accessing a website for those with motor limitations or those who are vision impaired. 

    That implies that if your website isn't optimized for keyboard navigation, those users may have an extremely painful experience. Consider how you would feel if you couldn't easily click a play button or fill out a form to download an offer. The basic purpose of keyboard navigation is to allow users to utilize the tab key to choose an interactive element on a web page. 

    Keyboard-only users use the tab key to traverse a webpage. The simplest method to test this is to visit one of your web pages and navigate the page using the tab key. Take note of how simple or complex the process is. Make sure you also try moving backward with the Shift + Tab keys and selecting elements with the enter key.

    Steve Scott, Spreadsheet Planet

  5. Rethink the way you organize your content
    Great content engages your website visitors, educates them, and eventually converts them into sales-qualified leads, but what if your prospects can't read your content? 

    That is a very real prospect for the 253 million individuals worldwide who have some form of visual disability. That's also a lot of prospective customers you might be passing up. 

    When it comes to content, make sure you're arranging it in a way that makes it easy to read for individuals with visual, language, and cognitive challenges. One of the simplest things you can do is divide longer blocks of material into smaller pieces separated by headers and subheaders.

    Veronica Miller, VPNOverview

  6. Provide descriptive labels in form fields
    Your forms are one of the most effective places to begin your accessibility efforts. Many of us rely on form fills for our marketing and sales livelihoods; thus, it's critical that anyone can readily fill these out. 

    Using placeholder text as labels on a brand's website is a typical mistake. This is usually done to preserve screen real estate, but it comes at the expense of usefulness. Placeholder text is the light grey text with low contrast that appears in some forms and disappears once you begin typing into the field. 

    This can be difficult to read for visually-impaired people. Because this wording also disappears after the information is input, it can be difficult to remember what the field was originally intended for.

    Gerrid Smith, Joy Organics

We hope this article has helped and inspired you to improve digital accessibility for all. At Texthelp, we're on our own journey with digital inclusion. To help us improve and maintain accessibility company-wide, we created ReachDeck. ReachDeck is our all-in-one digital inclusion tool. It's helping organizations to improve accessibility, readability and reach of online content. Learn more by visiting our ReachDeck product page. Or, take a look at our own ReachDeck story.

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