The surprising impact of accessibility on engagement

Jun 17 2024

The surprising impact of website and app accessibility on reach and engagement / GUEST BLOG Dan Drury

Dan Drury, Board advisor at Mindroom and veteran of digital communications, writing for AAAtraq, explains why you should put inclusive design at the heart of your marketing strategy, and why it is vital for customer engagement.

Ensuring website and app accessibility is not just a legal requirement but a strategic imperative for enhanced marketing performance. Let’s get the compliance bit out the way early. If you’re doing business in the USA, you need to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or you will get sued. Similar laws with stronger teeth come to Europe in June 2025 in the form of the European Accessibility Act (EAA). Stick rattling over, now let’s look at why this is an amazing opportunity to grow reach and strengthen engagement. Stop groaning about compliance and start grinning at the benefits.

Ignoring accessibility excludes a vast audience—one as large as the millennial demographic. You wouldn't exclude millennials from your thinking, so why overlook accessibility? Don’t forget this helps not only people with disabilities, but also elderly users, and those with temporary impairments. Inclusivity can expand your market reach and create a loyal new customer base.

LACK OF DIGITAL PLATFORM OPTIMISATION

It’s likely that your campaigns incorporate messages about sustainability, inclusivity and trust - yet digital platforms are seldom optimised for carbon efficiency, fail on accessibility and do not respect visitor privacy. This totally undermines the effectiveness of any campaign. It’s currently pride month, maybe you are running campaigns celebrating your inclusivity. But are you ignoring visitors with disabilities? Get called out and you’ll be branded hypocrites and the campaign will backfire.

And while we’re at it let’s talk about sustainable web design - ensuring that your digital channel carbon footprint is low. Fortunately, there’s a big overlap between accessibility and sustainability so it’s a win-win. Content with sustainable and accessible design is good for SEO and well-structured content helps LLMs find and train on your content. So why aren’t we all doing this already? Because it is hard to get right and needs a fresh approach where inclusive design thinking comes at the start of a campaign, not the end.

ACCESSIBILITY COMPLIANCE

AAAtraq have scanned thousands of websites for accessibility compliance, carbon efficiency and privacy. We produce rankings like NASDAQ and Valuable 500. Sadly, the average grade is “D” using our Content Performance Certificate™. Most organisations have failed to provide equal access despite significant investments. This demonstrates that many organisations remain complacent or misinformed about the true state of their digital accessibility. Regular audits are part of the answer. Tools like WAVE (https://wave.webaim.org/) and Axe (https://www.deque.com/axe/) can help developers.

You can get a free AAAtraq check that simply states the scale of your problem and gives you 3 quick wins you should tackle right away (aaatraq.com/check). Don’t forget - the same tools can be used by anybody including eager lawyers, activists and detractors. It’s all too easy to get called out.

Whatever tool you use you’re likely to find that you have a problem. A problem caused by the need for “more content faster” with tight deadlines and tighter budgets. By mid-next-year you will need to priortise compliance, so why not start now with a new “better content faster” attitude and start reaping the rewards that inclusive design brings to marketing and customer engagement.

By Dan Drury, Board advisor at Mindroom

Original is at https://www.engagemartech.com/blog/the-surprising-impact-of-website-and-app-accessibility-on-reach-and-engagement (opens in a new window)

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