As content marketers, it is important that anything built on behalf of a brand resonates with their consumer. In order to achieve this goal, content creation needs to be designed in a user-friendly and accessible manner. Colour choice, text size, texture and sound can all impact how a consumer engages with your product. While designers should consider government accessibility legislation, including the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act), and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), the tips below are a good starting point for ensuring your message truly reaches everyone.

Use of Colour in Design

Approximately 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women are colour blind; 1 in 30 people have low vision and 1 in 1,888 are blind. It is imperative that this demographic is considered before distributing your content. Think about how a visually impaired consumer will interact with your creative. In terms of colour blindness, designers must be aware of its variations, which range from seeing little colour in certain hues (commonly red, green or blue) to seeing no real colour at all. The most common form of colour blindness is red-green and in some cases blue-yellow.

Colour combinations such as red and green, green and brown, and blue and grey can be particularly hard to distinguish. A colour-blind consumer, for example, may have difficulty distinguishing between similar colour hues, rendering your infographic or chart unusable. Try using colours with higher contrast, that are not paired in common vision patters, such as red-green and blue-yellow. By increasing the colour distinction,  you can make information easier to see. Another option would be to add shading between the colours to increase the contrast. You could also use a monochromatic colour palette, or if your design will be a printed element, try including texture, like raised inks, as a differentiating factor – a great chance to think outside the box. Good design is not limited by considering the needs of people with visual impairments. The reason for Facebook’s now-iconic blue interface? Founder Mark Zuckerberg is colour-blind, and blue is the “richest” colour he perceives.

Selecting Fonts

Even the most wonderful copy will be rendered useless if the font is illegible. Ensure a good contrast between the background and the text, as this will help maximize visibility for viewers. Enhancing colour saturation can also add clarity. Consider the media in which your consumer is going to see the creative — will they be viewing your content as a printout, seeing it on the web, or magnified as an out-of-home billboard? When it comes to digital design, every visual element requires alternative text to go along with it. Alt text (alternative text, an aspect of coding) is a description that is paired with an image and would be provided to the viewer if the image were not available. It can also be used to describe charts and graphs by explaining how the viewer should interpret it as a whole.

The Role of Audio in Content Marketing

Hearing loss can also impact upon design, especially when it comes to video. Consider whether your video is understandable without audio cues; if not, closed captions will provide assistance to those with impaired hearing. (How does one go about getting closed captioning done – can you please explain or provide a link?) This practice is also useful when considering the platforms you will be distributing your video materials across. On Facebook and Instagram, videos play automatically without sound, unless the consumer decides to activate sound. Likely, you would want that video content to be engaging and understandable without sound, in case viewers choose to watch but not listen. In terms of hearing, sound effects need to be simple, clear and not too high or low (what does this mean – please elaborate). Make sure sound is professionally mixed and edited for clarity. Sounds with too many things happening in the background can be difficult for anyone to hear, making it even more difficult for those with hearing impairments.

Create content that will reach your consumer and encourage them to engage; make that content accessible to your whole consumer base and you will see the benefits. Despite making your content more accessible, there are some cases where your message may never reach your consumer; a profoundly deaf person will not be able to hear your audio news release. This is another reason to distribute your content across multiple platforms — complement your audio release with brand journalism, or video with optional closed captions.

Accessibility goes beyond vision and hearing; think cognitive, mobility, speech impairments and beyond. We hope this serves as a starting point. For more information, contact us at info@fifthstory.com.