How to Make Your Business Website Accessible to the Hearing Impaired
As technology continues to develop rapidly, more and more options are becoming available to businesses who want their websites to reach as many people as possible. And since nearly 40 million Americans live with some level of hearing impairment, it’s not hard to see why companies around the country are taking steps to make the design of their websites and content completely accessible to the hearing impaired. While it requires a bit more time, energy, and money, creating an accessible website can quickly pay off in the end. If this sounds like something your company needs to address, here are some tips to get you started.
Hire a Pro
A lot goes into web design and content creation. Add on customizing your site and content to meet the needs of the hearing impaired, and it becomes even more complex. Unless you have expertise in these fields, you will save a significant amount of time and energy by hiring a professional. Plus, it will likely save you money in the long run.
Provide Captions and Transcripts
One of the most important things you can do to make your website more accessible is by adding captions and transcripts to any content that has sound. This would include any video content, live captions, and other features that involve sounds and cues. With closed captioning, your hearing-impaired audience can follow along with the message of your videos, and transcription can do the same for your audio files.
Consider Sign Language Interpretation
Making your website accessible can even affect how you write your content. For example, when writing your video and audio content, keep in mind that many hearing-impaired individuals use sign language. Since sign language is quite different from standard written English, it might be hard for your hearing-impaired audience to fully engage in content that is too abstract. Be conscious of writing your content in a straightforward, concise manner so that your whole audience can engage in your captions and transcripts.
If you need transcripts for your web video, the best way to hire professional transcription services is to search freelance job sites. You can find plenty of candidates who are knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced.
Pay Special Attention to Visual Elements
Individuals who are hearing impaired — especially deaf individuals — are more sensitive to visual elements. Keep this heightened sensitivity in mind when you develop your website. Of course, you want beautiful, engaging design, images, and videos. However, make sure there is a good balance between visual elements and written content. That is, try not to fill pages with vibrant colors and intricate designs; instead, leave adequate room for words and white space.
Websites are a part of your company’s marketing, which ultimately should lead to sales. To make the website more user-friendly for those with a hearing impairment while simultaneously boosting your company’s selling potential, create multiple platforms for contact options. Those options could include email, online forms, live web chats, or even video conferencing. Also, consider using click-to-call links, and designate portions of your website solely to contact information in order to facilitate smooth communication.
Making your website more accessible to your hearing-impaired audience helps everyone involved. Not only will hearing-impaired individuals be better able to engage in the site’s design and content, but your company will be able to broaden its reach. Think about implementing the tips listed here, and remember to hire a professional web developer to help along the way. You might be surprised by the positive results and feedback you get from people across the country!
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