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2019 Forecast: 3 Major Digital Marketing Trends and Accessibility

Jan 2, 2019

The new year promises to be an interesting study in emerging digital marketing trends that, with thoughtful planning, can set the stage for accessibility driven progress. Over time, changes to federal law and social positioning (and lawsuits) have pushed the issue of improving accessibility to the forefront of content marketing strategy. When the accessibility websites and online services is prioritized, it benefits everyone, especially the 25% of U.S. adults (61 million people) with a disability.

These are exciting times for both users and businesses as technology is improving rapidly to meet the more intricate demands of the public. It’s important to take note of these new digital marketing trends and prepare to incorporate accessibility needs into your website, not only because of the ethical implications but to also meet standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and be compliant with the standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Accessibility

AI is becoming an increasingly prevalent force in the lives of users all over the world, and that includes those with disabilities. From acting as “digital assistants” that can perform certain tasks and functions through the use of voice-to-text search queries, to collecting and segmenting data from people with disabilities that help to lay the groundwork for future studies, AI has had a profound impact on the future of accessibility. Being able to utilize AI in instances when a person would use a home speaker’s speech recognition feature, for example, can make the difference for individuals with motor or visual impairments who could use AI to turn off lights or perform internet searches. For this reason, it’s extremely important that elements on websites are correctly labeled and non-text elements like images, for example, have alt text, which describes the content to blind users, those with low vision, or others who benefit from a textual alternative to visual information.

Read: Accessibility and the Internet of Things

Chatbots and Accessibility

Chatbots can help to facilitate processes and make them go smoother — you’ve likely encountered them on social media platforms or in pop-up windows on websites. Chatbots also personalize experiences to make interaction feel more human and can converse with users to expedite purchases or transactions. Although chatbots are becoming more frequently utilized, there’s still much progress to be made in order to ensure that they are able to meet the needs of everyone. Despite the increasing reliance on chatbots by various businesses, chatbots can require a lot of work to be made compatible with assistive technology and intuitive for some people to use.

Video Marketing and Accessibility

There’s no denying that when it comes to creating content, video has dominated on almost every available social media and content publishing platform. Recent surveys have found that 73% of US adults use YouTube online and on their mobile phones to view video content, while 68% US adults of are using Facebook on a daily basis – important statistics to note when considering how best to reach audiences through video marketing.

From live broadcasting to targeted campaign messaging, video marketing has become an integral tool for businesses all over the globe. Video marketing has not only served as a valuable avenue for storytelling, it’s also been an effective tool for brand influencers and audiences who want a more interactive experience.

Still, many videos online do not have closed captioning or transcripts that would make the information accessible to people that may otherwise be excluded. Not only do videos with closed captioning appear higher in Google’s search results, they also gain more views and user engagement. Adding captions and transcripts to your site is important to make the most of opportunities to boost SEO, while also being inclusive and compliant with federal law.

Read: Five Ways to Improve Your SEO with Web Accessibility

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