Writing Inclusive content is all about the audience. Creating content that welcomes all audiences shows a dedication to fairness. Meaning more people will have a less risky time. You can’t just do something once and get the badge; it takes consistent, conscious effort.
And there will be difficulties, errors, and shortfalls, just as with any ongoing effort. For instance, it would be impossible to discuss all facets of accessible writing and design in a single post. Instead, we’ll discuss the fundamentals of creating inclusive content.
Table of contents
- Accessible Web Design
- Main Factors Of Inclusive Writing
- Final Words About Inclusive Writing
Providing easy access to information is fundamental to inclusive content writing. A wide variety of users should be able to use all aspects of your site without any problems.
It’s important to start with text because no matter how well-intentioned your efforts to be inclusive in writing are, they won’t amount to much if the design of your website makes it impossible for people to read it. Do all you can and reserve a session with a digital marketing agency to analyze it for you.
Ensure Users Can Interact With the Screen
Screen readers are invaluable for making written content accessible to people with visual impairments and learning disabilities. Use Assitiv Labs, NV Access for Windows, or VoiceOver for Mac to ensure your website is accessible to all users.
Don’t Forget To Add Images’ Alt Texts
Alternative text is used by screen reader software to describe images. So, it is important.
Add Captions To Videos
For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing and those who experience sensory overload in general, captioning is a breeze with the help of software like Kapwing. It’s important enough to be a part of usual video digital marketing services.
Improve Keyboard Navigation
It’s also important to think about keyboard navigation when making your site accessible to people who use assistive technologies. It’s important to make your site accessible to people who cannot use a mouse, such as those with limited mobility, tremors, vision impairments, etc. When testing keyboard navigation, it’s best to do it yourself.
Use Motions Cautiously
People with vestibular disorders, epilepsy, photosensitivity, or ADHD may find excessive motion in design elements distracting or harmful. Motion warnings and the ability to turn off animations should be included if they are used.
Now that you understand how text is presented, you can concentrate on the quality of your writing.
To keep up with the ever-changing language, writers must adapt their writing methods to accommodate all audiences. However, the extent to which your writing is inclusive (or exclusive) will depend largely on how you use language, sources, and formatting.
Inclusive Language In Writing
You might write great content but still have left some spots unattended. Using the proper pronouns is only one aspect of more broadly welcoming language. Even though that’s crucially important, writing that welcomes all readers creates a sense of community and greatly lessens the likelihood that your words will be used to harm anyone who encounters them. There is more weight to the words you choose, the sources you cite, and even the slang terms you employ than you might think.
Keep these tips in mind as you create content:
Try not to use the pronoun “they.”
Avoid using gendered and exclusive language like “ladies and gentlemen,” “mankind,” and “businesswoman.” Change these terms to neutral ones like “people” or “business people.”
Avoid the use of degrading language.
Using phrases without realizing their origins in harmful past practices or ideas is easy. For instance, the phrase “blacklist/whitelist” uses racial stereotypes, “blindspot” alludes to visual impairments, and the term “womxn” was created expressly to exclude trans women.
Be cautious when using idioms or phrases that assume a certain level of skill or knowledge from the reader.
Similarly, many idioms are derogatory and exclusive. “that’s crazy” is used to make light of mental illness. Typical calls to action (CTAs) such as “see this” or “listen to” do not include users who may have trouble doing so because of a disability.
Research And Use Diverse Resources For Inclusive Writing
To the same extent that no one enjoys feeling left out of an inside joke, the same can be said of references that leave the reader or listener scratching their heads or feeling left out.
Don’t limit your thinking to Western standards. When you only use examples from one culture, you risk alienating some audiences and confusing others. Let’s look at the “Turkey Race” as an example. Those words conjure images of Thanksgiving day 5k races for anyone who grew up in the United States. But what if I told you that people run a race in Puerto Rico to win a literal (frozen) turkey? That’s the tradition known as a Turkey Race (Carrera del pavo). Identical words, entirely different outcomes. Furthermore, people outside of North America won’t understand the significance of Thanksgiving or the associated turkey traditions.
Also, use examples from various fields and disciplines. Writing examples with only generic first names, like “John Smith” or “Jane Doe,” is like buying a keychain with a string of names that all sound the same. So why not Sade, Asim, Fatima, or Tâm? Even better if you can’t say which gender those names refer to because examples shouldn’t presume a particular gender.
Formatting your content so that many people can read it is another important part of inclusive writing.
For those who struggle to read because of dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or another learning disability, skimmable articles can be a lifesaver. In fact, not only is it helpful for search engine optimization (SEO), but it is also a proven method for improving readers’ comprehension. Formatting your content with block quotes, clear headers, and bulleted lists can make it easier to skim.
Final Words About Inclusive Writing
This article serves as a guide for us as we create content for the web, and we recommend that you use it to do the same. Remember that creating inclusive content is not about convincing everyone to like what you do; rather, it is about giving all users the same access and choice.