If you’ve put in the work to provide accessible digital products or build an inclusive workplace, it’s time to tell that story.
Consumers care about inclusivity. By broadcasting your social values, you can help you build a stronger brand that appeals to more people — and your customers will listen.
According to a 2021 survey performed by insights agency Think Know, most consumers are “more likely" or “much more likely" to support a company that publicly commits to diversity and inclusion. Another survey performed by Kelly Services, a global staffing agency, found that 71% of Americans indicate that they are more likely to support a business that makes employment opportunities available to individuals on the autism spectrum.
Put simply, if you prioritize inclusive design and use inclusive hiring practices, you’re in a great position to promote your business — and you’re much more likely to have an exceptional product.
Below, we’ll explain how accessibility factors into inclusive design and provide tips for discussing your achievements with your audience.
Understanding the Differences Between Accessibility and Inclusivity
Accessibility and inclusivity have intersecting principles, but they’re not identical concepts. Accessibility focuses on whether products and services are accessible to people with disabilities, while the goal of inclusivity is to ensure an equivalent experience for all users — regardless of their backgrounds, abilities, or the technologies they use to access your content.
You can’t create inclusive products without considering accessibility. However, inclusive design (also known as universal design) requires the consideration of a variety of use cases, which begins at the first stage of product development.
It’s possible to improve accessibility after creating your product. For example, if you’ve built a website, then remediated barriers that affect screen reader users, your site may be more accessible — but to be truly inclusive, you need to consider the needs and expectations of your audience (including individuals with disabilities) from the very beginning.
Inclusive design gives customers something to talk about
If you’ve taken an inclusive approach, the rewards are substantial: Inclusive digital products provide a better experience for all users, which immediately expands your audience. Inclusive web content performs better in search engine rankings and generally requires less maintenance.
And when customers have a great experience with your website or mobile app, they tend to spread the word:
Inclusive businesses benefit from higher Net Promote Scores® (NPS®), a metric used to evaluate word-of-mouth.
Social media posts have higher levels of engagement when they follow the best practices of accessibility.
Some of those best practices (such as including captions on videos) can also improve brand recognition, raising the chances of positive word of mouth.
Tips for Promoting Your Brand’s Commitment to Inclusivity
If your organization prioritizes inclusivity, your marketing team has a much easier job. However, you’ll still need to think carefully about messaging when promoting your accomplishments. Some tips to keep in mind:
Put accessibility front-and-center. Publish an accessibility statement that uses plain language to describe key achievements such as conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the international standard for accessibility.
Make sure your accessibility statement is easy to find. Adding a hyperlink in your header or footer menu can ensure that people can find your statement from any page of your site.
Don’t be afraid to discuss disabilities directly in blog posts, eCommerce store pages, or in other relevant content. However, use a thoughtful approach and avoid potentially offensive terminology. For more guidance, read: A Quick Style Guide for Writing Disability-Focused Content
If you’ve recently passed an important benchmark (such as WCAG conformance), you can tell your audience on social media or through an email campaign. Of course, you’ll need to follow accessible marketing practices when crafting your message — if you send a newsletter discussing digital compliance, your audience will feel misled if you ignore the best practices of email accessibility.
Finally, if your brand hasn’t prioritized inclusive design, remember that it’s never too late to change your approach. By following WCAG and considering the full scope of your audience, you can build better products that appeal to a diverse audience.
If you’re ready to build an inclusive design strategy, the Bureau of Internet Accessibility can help. To get started, send us a message or download our free eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Web Accessibility.