Content Marketing: how to make materials accessible to people with visual impairments
There are 2.2 billion people in the world who are blind or visually impaired, in Brazil it is estimated that more than 1.5 million people are blind according to a study carried out by the CBO
We’ve already talked here on the blog and in our free Digital Marketing materials about the importance of Content Marketing as a strategy for attracting and relating to Leads .
But, despite having an almost countless amount of information on the internet, The research team of Blue World City realize that many of these contents are still not accessible to a portion of the population: people with visual impairments.
But why make materials accessible?
Let’s imagine the following situation: a blind person wants to buy a notebook, but despite surfing the internet with the help of a screen reader, much visual information cannot be interpreted.
That person can look for a simple notebook or a more sophisticated one. But the lack of details will compromise the purchase decision and often she will not have the autonomy to buy alone, as someone with vision would.
It is as if a person with vision (normovisual) enters a website with their eyes closed and is going to make a purchase. The chances of buying something wrong or not to her taste are great.
How to make content accessible?
This can be done through audio description (AD), a technique used to translate images into words.
Audio description was born in the United States, in the 1970s, from the master’s thesis by researcher Gregory Frazier. In Brazil, the technique appeared in 2003 through the Assim Vivemos festival, which features films about people with disabilities.
But, despite the audio description being highlighted in the audiovisual, the technique can be applied in other situations, such as theater plays, dance performances, teaching materials, etc.
As it is a technique, it consists of procedures and rules to achieve a good result. In the case of AD, there are guidelines to guide production. Among these guidelines, I highlight two:
1. Describe what you see
This guideline says a lot about what you won’t describe.
According to the American audio describer, Joel Snyder, “describe what you see” refers to narrating what you observe, what you see and that perhaps a lay person did not realize that was visually available.
Furthermore, in the AD process, it is necessary not to give more information than the work allows. In other words, making material accessible is not about helping a visually impaired person to “understand better”.
Remember: a person with visual impairment just doesn’t have vision. She must have the same autonomy that the normovisual have.
Neutrality is closely related to the above guideline. It is for you to translate what you observe and see to give the essential elements to the AD user, who will be able to create in his own mind the image of what was audio-described.
Speaking of neutrality at the time of the locution, the professor at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Francisco Lima, advises that what he thinks or thinks of the work is not to be transmitted by voice.
In other words, the locution of AD needs to be consistent with the work. If it’s an action scene, the voice should keep pace so that the visually impaired person has the same feeling as the people looking at the moving image.
Below I selected some types of materials, telling how to make them accessible for people with visual impairments.
A survey conducted by Cisco showed that from 2020 85% of internet traffic will be through videos.
But how to make this type of content accessible? Precisely through audio description.
Although this technique is performed by specialized professionals, if your company is going to hire a screenwriter, or if you want to do the audio description internally, it is necessary to pay attention to some points:
This is a primordial step and one that needs a lot of care on the part of the screenwriter.
The professional will watch the video, make some initial considerations and list images that are very relevant to the context.
It is important to emphasize that speech is slower than images and that in some videos it will be impossible to describe all the scenes.
In addition, the audio description must enter speech intervals and must not compromise the work.
Once the script is ready, it’s time to be validated by the consultant, that is, an audio description professional who is trained in the area and who is a person with visual impairment.
The consultant’s job consists of reviewing the script, considering two aspects:
- If the inserts contained there enable images to be built in the mind of the listener;
- If the sentences are in accordance with the grammatical norms.
If the consultant deems it necessary, propose improvements to the document. After this analysis, he sends the document to the screenwriter.
3. Voice over recording
Ideally, the voiceover is performed by a person who already has practice.
But if that’s not possible, what you need to know is that the narration must keep pace with the work.
If it’s a teaser video, extremely fast and animated, the AD voiceover should remain neutral. However, if there is some information on the screen and a rhythm of emotion, the narrator should follow that objective.
Editing is an extremely thorough job that needs a lot of attention.
This work, despite appearing often simple, is what will represent all the work of the screenwriter and consultant.
But, after all, what is so different about this edition?
The editor needs to follow the orientation imposed in the script and, in addition, often needs to use the feature of minimally speeding up the voice so that a certain sentence fits at that time.
5. Consultant and screenwriter approval
Finally, the work ends when the consultant and the screenwriter evaluate the voiceover, editing and final work.
This step is important because, with the context of the work, it may be necessary to make changes before making the video available.
Many times, when we conduct webinars, we say our name and get straight to the point, right? But what about a blind person?
Let’s think about another situation.
Your company will do a webinar on Landing Page best practices, an extremely visual material.
When the webinar is aimed at people with visual impairments, we must consider some information:
- Location (the room that has colorful beanbags, for example);
- Clothing (if it is very different or refers to the theme);
- Shared on-screen presentations require explanation. In the case of tables, they must contain a caption and, depending on how long they remain on the screen, be made available to all participants by email.
A visually impaired person can easily access a PDF or a blog through screen reader software.
However, some details within this material may compromise the understanding of the subject.
As much as computers can enlarge the screen, zoom mode can often distort content and make reading difficult — after all, a person with visual impairment can be blind or have another visual acuity rating. Therefore, the font size, instead of 10, can be 14.
Care must also be taken when publishing materials in PDF.
Check how the file’s content was created, whether the file contains searchable text, that is, the text itself, or whether it is available in image format.
The latter makes it considerably difficult for people with visual impairments to read the content who use screen reader software.
Many marketers know the alt attribute for optimizing on-page SEO, but it can also contribute to accessibility.
The alt is used in HTML codes and has the objective of creating an alternative text for the image.
If it is not possible to use the alt as a way to make the image accessible, the suggestion is to create a caption that describes it.
Images make a big difference when it comes to content and is applicable to various business models.
That’s why, in addition to inserting the ALT, it is important to include an accessible caption, that is, with an audio description.
Audio description in static images must follow a fundamental guideline: we describe from the general to the specific.
Furthermore, when a description is made, it is necessary to follow a logical order, that is, describe from top to bottom, from left to right.
When it says to describe the general, it means to say what the image is in short.
In relation to the specific, we bring more detailed details of the image, without losing sight of the concepts of clarity and objectivity.
Each person has one of the 5 senses more refined than the other, and working with the diversity of contents can collaborate so that it reaches everyone.
Another visual way to present information is through the infographic.
But in order to make this content accessible, we need to pay attention to some points during the elaboration.
Size of figures
Infographics usually have icons/images that contribute to understanding.
When we are preparing material for an audience that has some difficulty in seeing, we should enlarge these icons and save them in good resolution, in case it is necessary to zoom.
In addition, the use of subtitles can help to understand this graphic piece, bringing information that did not fit in the image.
In static images, we must pay attention when describing: the background with its respective color; which geometric figure is used or, alternatively, what this figure resembles; whether the graphics are on the right, centered or left.
Furthermore, if a text follows the normal flow of reading, from left to right and from top to bottom, it is not necessary to keep repeating below, then below, lower and lower…
Say it only once, unless there is a break in this sequence, for example below text and then centered text.
In this case, you must bring information from the text that is centralized, as the person with visual impairment will not be able to know about this change in formatting.
It is noteworthy that, if there was this type of change, it is because whoever produced the image wanted to highlight what was centralized, therefore, it must be described.
It is also not necessary to use expressions such as “it is written” or “the written text”, because if it is enclosed in quotation marks, we can identify that it is a message contained in the image.
A Landing Page is a conversion page that aims to turn a visitor into a Lead.
RD Station‘s Landing Pages are 90% accessible for people with visual impairments.
However, if you use another LP format, keep in mind that it is necessary to use best practices such as captchas.
However, avoid using those captchas with images (example of captchas that ask you to click on the “cars” image to prove that you are not a robot).
Good email formatting practice should also be remembered when we’re talking about making this message accessible. In other words, not just using images, but using text and images so that the content becomes accessible.
And, of course, describe the images using the basic audio description rules.
Let’s imagine that you are going to send a promotional Email Marketing announcing a winter clothing stock-out.
Information about color, size and values need to be accessible so that people with visual impairments can access the products.
Finally, when we talk about Inbound Marketing and about educating our audience at each stage of the buying journey with the goal of making them a customer, we must be open to the diversity of people.
We need to produce content that reaches the persona, but we mustn’t forget that she can be a visually impaired person.
That’s why using assistive technology techniques can contribute not only to the inclusion of these people, but also to be decisive in attracting or not a new Lead.
There are 2.2 billion people in the world who are blind or visually impaired, in Brazil it is estimated that more than 1.5 million people are blind according to a study carried out by the CBO We’ve already talked here on the blog and in our free Digital Marketing materials about the importance of Content Marketing as a strategy…