People with disabilities are regularly consuming visual and non-visual content. According to Magna, 15 percent of the world’s population has a disability, which includes speech, visual, cognitive and hearing disabilities. Despite having these challenges, individuals are seeking out media that often lacks accessibility. Accessibility standards have been lowered and lack of accessibility has become a normalized practice, leading to negative emotions for users and repercussions for brands.
Magna, the leading global media investment and intelligence company, conducted a survey, with participants of various disabilities, to uncover media consumption habits and point of view of communication from companies. An average of 97 percent of participants consume digital media daily; 96 percent non-visual and 98 percent visual. The survey findings conclude that social media is the most difficult for users with a disability to use when it comes to consuming content because the platforms simply lack accessibility. Many platforms have assistive tools designed to help users read, listen to or view content. Examples of assistive tools include screen readers, listening devices, subtitles, magnified content and more.
Even with these assistive tools, users claim to continue having problems consuming content. In fact, 64 percent of users with a disability who consume content had reported having problems with social media even with the help of an assistive tool. The problems were due to the actual content for 30 percent of users. However, for 34 percent of users, the problem was identified as the assistive tool. Some of the reasons why these tools are not useful are because they are confusing to figure out, had readability issues, captions could not keep up and/or the tools weren’t helpful enough along with more difficulties. While tools not being good enough may be half the issue, many users don’t even have access to the tools. In fact, 56 percent of all users need assistive tools but don’t have access to them due to reasons including inconvenience of setting up, tools are not useful and the tools are expensive.
While standards for accessibility are low, there is a huge opportunity for brands to spark positive emotions by starting an initiative to make their product accessible to all. In order to connect with their users, brands must put in the work to make communications accessible, not because they may reap repercussions if they don’t, but because it allows users to feel a connection to a brand and be satisfied with the product, choosing that brand over competitors.
If you would like to learn more about social media accessibility and how to be inclusive to all, contact AOE today!