Diversity Includes Disability: How Your Company Can Craft Accessible Communications.
Today, diversity, equity, and inclusion are top of mind for marketers and PR pros, but DE&I includes more than what most people might assume. DE&I in communications doesn’t stop at race and gender— it also includes the disabled community. More and more businesses are employing accessible communication tactics to reach this audience, but what does accessible communications really mean? Accessible communication is when companies create content that can be read or listened to by all people, including those who experience disability. People have different communication needs, and it’s important to keep inclusivity as a key priority when creating content Take a look at Lego, which launched Braille Bricks in 2020 after a successful pilot period. The bricks are “play-based methodology that teaches braille to children who are blind or have a visual impairment.” To launch the product, Lego needed to communicate with parents, kids, and people who are blind or visually impaired. The company launched a website dedicated to Lego Braille Bricks that is fully accessible, includes interactive activities for children who are learning braille or who already know how to read braille, and shares tips for facilitating activities with children who are blind or visually impaired. What’s more, the website’s accessibility page shares an email address users can contact if they’re having issues with the website’s accessible features. For companies looking to make their communications more inclusive, an easy step to adopt is using person-first language. Person-first language references the person before the disability in writing, i.e. “person who is blind.” This tactic shows that people are not necessarily defined by their disability. But the words we use aren’t enough. It’s so easy for companies to not consider the tools their audiences may need to use to read websites, get their news, or digest information. This is where accessible communications come into play. A recent study from the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) found that 68% of Americans are more likely to support a company that prioritizes diversity. To truly place diversity at the forefront of your company, especially when reaching key audiences, try making digital content accessible, like Lego. When crafting this content, it’s important to think ahead and provide ways for everyone to access it. Simple ways to do this are:
- Including Alt text behind images so a description of the image is provided
- Using headers for screen readers
- Being conscious of hard to read colors
- Giving links descriptive names so a screen reader can accurately describe the link to a reader who is blind