Wed, 28 February 2024

Content Creation

Capture your Consumer with Accessible Copy

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In today’s world, we use concepts like ‘average’ to market products and services. But what if we told you there is no average? What if we told you the average consumer doesn’t exist?

While you sit there slightly baffled, read on because what we want to tell you is this. The average consumer doesn’t exist but a consumer in need of your product or service does.

A little history gives us some interesting insights. In the year of 1950, Lieutenant Gilbert Daniels was tasked with redesigning the cockpits for the US Air Force Researchers at Wright Air Force Base. After measuring pilots to determine an ‘average’ for the dimensions, Lieutenant Daniels was at a loss, “Out of 4,063 pilots, not a single airman fit within the average range on all ten dimensions.”

It was then apparent that designing a cockpit to fit the ‘average’ pilot actually meant it would fit no one.

Similarly, when you start to write and deliver content for an ‘average’ consumer, you may not target the right consumer at all.

Your consumer may have the readability of an English language scholar or they may have a cognitive learning disability or they may require assistance from a screen reader. Nevertheless, they are your consumer and you need to capture their attention.

Make copy accessible

Accessibility copy means as many people as possible will be able to read your digital content. You promote inclusion and in doing so, enhance engagement within your target audience, who in fact may have sign language as their mother ‘tongue’.

The accessible copy checklist

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Whenever you start looking at digital content, make it a practice to ensure any copy is written in such a way that it will be accessible to the masses.

Do away with the notion that we cannot write for everybody. Let’s instead write for anyone who would be interested in our product or service.

If you are overwhelmed, don’t be. We have the accessible copy checklist for you right here! And if you can write to as many of these guidelines as possible, you will be well on your way to writing for everyone.

Plain language is an English standard

This is your starting point. Write your copy in plain English so it can be read by anyone. If you do have to use several complex or technical words, provide a glossary of terms.

Format long content into digestible chunks

No one likes to read words upon words. You will lose engagement very quickly. There is something to be said about being turned off by too many words on a page. In particular, people with cognitive disabilities like dyslexia, find it difficult to consume content in that manner.

Correct use of structure and headings

Having a structure that is consistent helps everyone digest information. Something as simple as ensuring your H1 is followed by H2 and then H3 provides your audience with structure and an understanding of how the copy flows.

Headings are also a great tool to quickly scan the page to find the desired content. Especially for assistive technology users, correct use of headings makes navigation through the page seamless.

Provide a visual aid

Chat to your UI experts! Designing for diversity ensures accommodation of all different disabilities. Visual aids assist consumers with cognitive and learning disabilities. Collaboration between content and design teams brings visual aids that brilliantly complement the copy on the page.

Alternatives to visual and video content

While visual aids and video make copy accessible, they also introduce hurdles for audiences with other disabilities. To write for everybody, ensure your visual aids or video content also have subtitles or transcripts.

For instance, text alternative (aka. alt text) does wonders for visual aids by increasing accessibility. However, don’t overdo it as it can become repetitive.

Ask these questions before introducing alt text:

  1. What is the purpose of the image? (if the image is there for decoration, alt text may clutter rather than make accessible)
  2. Is the information conveyed without the image?
  3. Are the contents of the image reflected in the copy already?
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Let’s write for your consumer

Inclusivity is key to our accessible copy checklist.

There is of course a level of technicality required in many businesses. Take a law firm for instance. It is a profession full of countless jargon and mysterious legalities, a jungle of copy. But, instead of writing technically, if we write with inclusivity in mind, imagine the increase in conversions!

Chat to our in-house copy specialists and find out how you can effectively capture your audience with accessible copy.

Book an Info Session

Feeling inspired? Take the first step and book in an info session with one of our team