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A day to introduce accessibility in content and communication

Tomorrow (May 19) marks the annual celebration of World Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). This day draws attention to the need for digital access and inclusion in communication, especially for the over one billion people with disabilities and disabilities.

In honor of GAAD, Apple previewed earlier this week accessibility features it will roll out to its hardware and software later this year. An example is door detectability, which helps users locate a door and whether it is closed or open, depending on Door detection can also read signs and symbols around a door, such as room numbers.

Other Apple accessibility features:

  • Over 20 language support in “VoiceOver”, the screen reader for blind and visually impaired users
  • Siri Pause Time, which allows users with speech impairments to adjust how long Siri waits to respond to a request
  • Live Captions for iPhone, iPad and Mac, allowing people who are deaf and hard of hearing to see captioned audio content in real time

Keep communication accessible

As Apple improves the accessibility of the platform through technology, PR professionals should also consider making their content more accessible.

“This can no longer be an afterthought – accessibility must be embedded in all communications,” says Alexea Veneracion, director of communications, Visit Colorado Springs. “According to the CDC, 26 percent of American adults have some type of disability,” says Veneracion.

While it’s always important to make content accessible, it’s especially true in an emergency, when people need access to accurate information.

Veneracion urges to hold”focus groups before launching campaigns to ensure that every audience member has equal access to your content and feels accurately represented. »

Besides, “communicators should be more intentional in including those of all abilities when finding videographers, photographers and models to work with for campaigns.

Accessibility communication tips

While it may seem daunting to make content and communication more accessible, resources and education are available if you commit to it. Veneraction recommends when considering social media access.

Additionally, she says, most social planning platforms (Hoot Suite and Social Sprout) offer blog posts and educational materials on best practices for inclusivity and accessibility.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis, VP, Communications, AbleDocs, offers simple ways for communicators to start making content more accessible. First use plain language when writing.

“Using plain language helps your audience understand your content faster and makes it easier for someone with cognitive impairment to understand,” says Hamel-Nelis.

An example:

Complicated language: When the process of freeing a vehicle that has been stuck results in ruts or holes, the operator will fill the rut or hole created by such activity before removing the vehicle from the immediate area.

Clear language: If you make a hole while freeing a stuck vehicle, you must fill the hole before leaving.

Another tip: always use alternative text and image descriptions (Alt-Text) when sharing images or graphics.

“People who are visually impaired or have vision loss will be able to better engage with your visual content when you incorporate alt text into your images or graphics, while sharing the image description in your social media posts,” she says. .

Many alt text options can be found in content management systems. Write descriptions of images in social posts.

For example, look at this image:

Alternative text: Matisse smiles while standing in a field holding balloons.

Description of the image: Matisse smiles standing in the middle of a field holding white, black and pink balloons. She has pink hair and wears a black knee-length dress and brown boots.

And always include captions.

“By adding open (embedded) or closed (non-embedded) captions, as well as audio descriptions (post-production or embedded), you make the user experience more accessible to everyone, with or without disabilities,” says- she.

Train the entire team on accessibility

Current Global, a global communications agency, is launching an in-depth accessible communications training course tomorrow (May 19). Its team of accessible communication experts will facilitate each 2.5 hour session. It’s a chance for organizations with remote workers, or even in-house teams, to learn the basics of scaling communication on accessibility whole.

The content is based on a February 2021 study by Over 800 people with disabilities in the US and UK examined their experience of accessing media and content and how brands can reach people with disabilities more effectively.

The study revealed that most people struggle with accessibility. Even people who use assistive technologies have problems. As a result, they have negative feelings and low expectations for companies and their content. MAGNA, IPG Media Lab and Current Global commissioned the study.

Current Global said it chose GAAD to launch the training because it is a day set aside to “bring more attention and awareness to digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities who interact with people on a daily basis. digital communications and technology”.

Nicole Schuman is editor-in-chief for PRNEWS. Am here @buffalo