Landing pages are essential tools for creating strong marketing campaigns. They’re often designed as standalone pages, and they’re built for engagement: They include strong sales copy, and most end with a strong call-to-action (CTA).
But when designing your campaigns, it’s important to consider your audience. About 26% of U.S. adults have one or more disabilities, and if your page isn’t accessible, some of those potential customers will be left out of the conversation.
They may leave with a negative impression of your brand — and if your landing page violates non-discrimination laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), your campaign might be far more expensive than you’d anticipated.
By building your landing pages with an accessible mindset, you can ensure a better experience for all users. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Don’t treat accessibility as an afterthought
Building for accessibility is much easier than fixing accessibility. If your landing page has keyboard accessibility issues or missing text alternatives, you can fix those problems quickly when adding the content — but if your landing page is already live, you’ll have trouble making the necessary changes without restarting your campaign.
Make a commitment to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) when planning your project. WCAG is the international standard for accessibility, and conformance with WCAG’s Level AA guidelines may improve compliance with the ADA and other laws.
More importantly, WCAG provides a framework for delivering an inclusive user experience (UX).
When you follow the guidelines — and actively think about the experiences of people who use screen readers, screen magnifiers, and other assistive technologies — you’re less likely to make mistakes. You can address accessibility barriers as they occur, which allows for a smoother campaign rollout.
Related: How Accessibility in the Web Development Process Saves Time
2. Don’t rely on images, video, or audio to convey information
Landing pages are often fairly busy. Your goal is to get the user’s attention, so you might use colorful images and multimedia.
That’s perfectly fine. Just remember: Some people can’t perceive content visually. Some users may have hearing disabilities, or they may browse with sound disabled. If your content relies on certain types of sensory perception, these users will miss out.
Here are a few quick tips to avoid common barriers:
Provide alternative text (also called alt text) for all important images.
Provide captions and transcripts for audio and multimedia.
Avoid using images of text.
Don’t use autoplay. If you absolutely must use autoplay, provide users with clear controls for pausing playback.
Don’t use color alone to convey information. For example, you shouldn’t write a CTA that reads: “Click the red button to get started.”
Make sure your page meets WCAG’s requirements for color contrast. Appropriate color contrast makes your text more readable for people with color vision deficiencies (also called color blindness) and other vision disabilities.
You can still use engaging visuals to capture your audience’s attention — contrary to a popular misconception, accessibility doesn’t make your website ugly or boring. A thoughtful approach will simply allow your campaign to reach a wider audience.
Related: Why Accessibility Must Be Part of Your Marketing Plan
3. Make sure people have multiple ways to access the landing page
Let’s say that you’re building a landing page for a Facebook marketing campaign. You decide to offer an exclusive 20% off discount for Facebook users, and you build a landing page that is only accessible through your social media post (or by entering the URL directly into the address bar).
This might help improve key metrics within a specific campaign, but it’s not ideal. Some people with disabilities avoid certain social media websites, and by restricting your offer to Facebook, you’re leaving people out.
The best practice is to post the same content across different social media platforms. If possible, you should also include the landing page link in your email campaigns and make it directly accessible through your website.
That approach can help you conform with WCAG Success Criterion 2.4.5, “Multiple Ways,” which requires that “more than one way is available to locate a web page within a set of web pages,” except when the page is part of a process. It also gives your audience more opportunities to complete your CTA, which strengthens your campaign — even if it slightly increases bounce rates.
Related: Can Accessibility Improve My Social Media Campaigns?
4. Avoid hiding the navigation bar
Many landing pages remove the navigation bar to improve conversion rates. This isn’t strictly necessary, and it can be frustrating for people who want to explore your website without reentering the URL.
For a quick example, check out Code Academy’s Pro plan landing page. The page has an effective CTA and strong sales copy, but the navigation bar is still accessible. The page’s layout keeps the user’s attention on the CTA button, but it doesn’t prevent users from visiting other parts of the website.
Related: Why Consistency is Important to Accessible Design
5. Keep your sales copy simple and concise
People will rarely read 1,000 words of sales copy. Simple, well-structured content is more effective, especially on landing pages — you’re demonstrating that you value your users' time, and if you’ve got a strong pitch, you shouldn’t need much text to introduce your CTA.
Concise content improves accessibility by providing a better experience for people who use screen readers (software that converts text to audio), screen magnifiers, and other assistive technologies. A simple landing page also benefits people with cognitive disabilities and neurocognitive differences.
Some quick tips:
Avoid jargon. If your landing page uses unusual words, provide definitions within the text or a hyperlink to a glossary.
Try to write shorter paragraphs with 2-3 lines of text. This makes content more “scannable" for all users.
Use a simple CTA. Don’t ask for information (such as the user’s physical address or gender) if you don’t need it.
Write powerful headlines and descriptive subheadings. Subheadings help break up your content and can be useful for assistive technology users.
Consider using lists to break up your content. Make sure your lists use appropriate HTML.
Finally, test your landing page before starting your campaign. Make sure it can be used with a keyboard alone (without a mouse) and look for opportunities for improvements. By using WCAG — and thinking about accessibility from the first stages of design — you can build an effective landing page that drives conversions without leaving people out of the conversation.
If you’ve got questions about landing page accessibility, we’re here to help. Send us a message to connect with a digital accessibility expert.