In today's digital-first era, businesses (as well as health and professional bodies) have a unique opportunity to reach a wide and diverse audience through a multitude of marketing and communication channels....
However, it's crucial to ensure that these materials are accessible to everyone, irrespective of their abilities or disabilities. Even more so, if dealing with matters of health and inequality, something the team at Turbine Creative are passionate about improving.
Accessibility in marketing and communication materials is not only a legal requirement in the UK but also a moral and practical imperative. In this blog, we'll explore the significance of accessibility in these materials, with a focus on the importance of subtitling, designing for the visually impaired, and also accommodating the deaf community.
The Legal and Ethical Imperative in the UK
Compliance with UK Disability Laws
Before delving into the various aspects of accessibility, it's important to understand that accessibility is not just good practice; it's often a legal requirement in the UK. The Equality Act 2010, along with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, sets clear guidelines for ensuring accessibility in digital content. Complying with these laws is vital to avoid legal consequences and demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity and social responsibility.
For more information on UK accessibility laws, visit the UK Government's official page on the Equality Act 2010: Equality Act 2010.
Beyond legal requirements, there's an valid ethical responsibility to make marketing and communication materials accessible. Excluding individuals with disabilities from accessing your content, when they require it, clearly goes against the principles of equality and social justice. By embracing accessibility, you're able to show your dedication to creating a more inclusive society.
Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the UK
Subtitling is a fundamental accessibility feature that benefits not only the deaf and hard of hearing but also people who prefer or need to consume content without sound, such as those in noisy environments or non-native speakers or if you're on the train and don't have any headphones!
Subtitles, also known as closed captions, are textual representations of the audio content, synchronized with the video or audio presentation. Here's why subtitling is crucial in marketing and communication materials in the UK:
Inclusion of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Deaf and hard of hearing individuals rely on subtitles to access audio content. By providing subtitles, you ensure that your messages are accessible to a significant segment of the population. This inclusivity can result in increased engagement, customer loyalty, and brand recognition among these communities.
Compliance with Legal Requirements
As mentioned earlier, accessibility is often a legal requirement in the UK. The Equality Act 2010 and WCAG 2.1 emphasise the importance of accessible digital content. Subtitling is an essential aspect of digital accessibility, and failing to provide it can lead to legal consequences.
Improved User Experience
Subtitles enhance the overall user experience for all viewers. They can make your content more engaging and comprehensible, which can lead to longer viewing times and increased retention of your message. This is especially relevant in marketing, where the goal is to capture and retain the audience's attention.
The other extremely useful element to subtitling is that is can be created in a multitude of different languages to help users whose first language may not be English.
For guidance on web accessibility in the UK, visit the UK Government's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: WCAG 2.1.
Designing for the Visually Impaired in the UK
Designing for the visually impaired is an integral part of creating accessible marketing and communication materials in the UK. This involves making both digital and print content perceptible to individuals with visual disabilities, including those who are blind or have low vision. Here's why it's crucial:
Expanding Your Audience
By designing materials that are accessible to individuals with visual impairments, you open your content to a broader audience. People with visual disabilities are potential customers, clients, or supporters who can benefit from your products, services, or messages.
Compliance with UK Accessibility Standards
The UK Government recommends adhering to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 to ensure your content is perceivable and usable by individuals with visual impairments. Meeting these standards is not only a legal requirement but also a best practice that can enhance your online presence and reputation.
Enhanced Brand Image
Incorporating accessibility features in your design can positively influence your brand image. It shows your commitment to inclusivity and equal access. This can resonate with consumers who value socially responsible companies, leading to increased customer trust and loyalty.
For more information on accessible design standards in the UK, visit the UK Government's guidance on making public sector websites accessible: Making public sector websites accessible.
Designing for the Deaf Community in the UK
While subtitling addresses the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing, there are additional considerations for accommodating the deaf community in your marketing and communication materials:
Sign Language Interpretation
For a more comprehensive approach to accessibility in the UK, consider providing British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation in your videos and live events. BSL interpreters can help deaf individuals access and understand your content in real time. Companies like A2i can provide this sort of service: https://a2i.co.uk/services/bsl-videos/
Visual Content Descriptions
Incorporate visual content descriptions for all non-text elements in your materials. These descriptions should be concise and convey essential information to individuals who cannot perceive the visual content. This is particularly important for graphics, images, charts, and infographics.
Use of Vibrant Visuals
While ensuring accessibility, don't forget the importance of visual aesthetics. Utilize high-contrast color schemes and clear typography to make your content more visually appealing and readable for individuals with low vision.
Other developments in creating greater accessibility
As well as the more traditional methods of subtitling, sign language, visual content descriptions and providing materials for VI customers there are also new developments in this area where AI has been able to lend a hand. One such area is the automated translation solution. See video below:
This solution analyses the original content, then translates the video and recreates the new language version using the original contrinutors own voice and faciual features. The startling effect is that the presenter can now fluently speak multiple languages and be understood by a more global audience. If you want to find out more about solution this please get in touch
Accessibility in marketing and communication materials in the UK is not just a legal obligation; it's a moral responsibility and an opportunity for growth. By embracing accessibility features like subtitling, designing for the visually impaired, and accommodating the deaf community, you can reach a broader audience, demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity, and enhance your brand image.
In today's diverse and digital world, ensuring that your materials are accessible to everyone is not just a choice; it's an essential aspect of ethical and effective communication. To find more resources on accessibility in the UK, you can visit the UK Government's accessibility guidance here: Accessibility guidance.
Turbine Creative work with several Healthcare and Sports bodies who are totally committed creating optimal accessibility in their communication materials for all. Through our production process we have spoken with stakeholders who have advised and given great insights into a wide diversity of accessibility requirements. If you want to to discuss this subject further please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our Contact form here.