In today’s digital age, accessibility has become increasingly important for media companies. Beyond just meeting legal requirements, ensuring accessibility opens the doors to a broader reach and fosters inclusivity within audiences.

With clients increasingly asking for accessible content, it’s evident that accessibility is no longer an option but a necessity. While much emphasis is placed on web accessibility, it’s crucial to recognize that the principles extend far beyond digital platforms, influencing print, branding and video content creation.

Let’s delve into why prioritizing accessibility is not just a trend, but a fundamental aspect of modern media practices.

What is Accessibility?

Accessibility refers to the practice of ensuring that digital content, physical environments, products and services are designed to be usable by all people, including those with disabilities, to provide equal access and opportunity.

By prioritizing accessibility, organizations promote inclusivity, diversity and equality, enabling everyone to participate fully in society and enjoy improved user experiences. In so doing,  accessibility expands audience reach.

Accessibility means adopting inclusive design practices. This includes providing captions and descriptions in videos, using readable fonts and high contrast in print materials, ensuring branding is accessible and making websites navigable for all users.

Guidelines and Standards


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. Since its passing in 1990, it has set guidelines for accessibility in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. Like other initiatives aimed at equality for marginalized groups, the ADA is the result of decades of hard work by many.


The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are international standards established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Ensuring WCAG compliance enhances web accessibility, enabling individuals with disabilities to access digital content equitably and aligning with ADA requirements. While these standards are designed for web content, they have many crossovers to other media especially as this media is increasingly consumed over the Internet.

Who Needs Accessibility?

The need for accessibility is wide-ranging, sometimes obvious and sometimes obscure. Christopher Reeves, famous as an actor before he experienced a horse-riding injury that severed his spine and took away his ability to move most of his body, had a disability that could be easily recognized. However, you may walk through a crowd of people and be unaware that someone you pass by is deaf, color blind or suffers from dyslexia. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 5 people experience some type of disability.

Additionally, many disabilities can vary in scope and impact. Stevie Wonder is a well-known R&B musician who happens to be totally blind. His condition is fairly obvious, but not all vision problems are. Approximately 90% of those with visual impairments are not completely blind. Their vision loss can be attributed to a wide range of causes including macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetes or trauma. And vision loss is only one category of disability.

Even more broadly, accessibility initiatives benefit more than just those who suffer from permanent disabilities. Consider how they can help those with temporary injuries or even people whose ability to focus on a complex interface may compete with other demands on their attention.

Accessible design aims to enhance usability for a number of conditions, including:

  • Visual impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • Motor impairments
  • Cognitive or neurological impairments
  • Temporary physical or mental injury
  • Divided or compromised attention

Challenges in Media Accessibility and How We Meet Them

Meeting the varied needs of individuals with disabilities presents a multifaceted challenge in crafting media that is universally accessible, requiring comprehensive design considerations and solutions. With such a wide range of issues to consider, this can present many challenges.So what are some of the solutions we can implement to meet these challenges?

Video Content Accessibility

Video presents challenges for people with visual and hearing disabilities as well as those with cognitive impairments or sensitivity to certain types of content. Some solutions aimed at addressing these challenges include:

  • Closed Captions/Subtitles
  • Audio Descriptions
  • High Contrast
  • Adjustable Playback Speed
  • Video Player Accessibility
  • Content Warnings

Print Material Accessibility

These tactics help to ensure that printed materials are accessible to individuals with visual impairments, dyslexia or other print-related disabilities:

  • Clear and Readable Fonts
  • Sufficient Color Contrast
  • Proper Text Alignment
  • Adequate Line Spacing
  • Use of Headers and Subheadings
  • Avoidance of Text Overlays on Images
  • Braille and Large Print Options

Branding Considerations

The following considerations are aimed at ensuring that branding materials are inclusive and accessible to individuals with diverse abilities.

  • High Contrast Branding Elements
  • Clear and Readable Logo Design
  • Consistent Branding Across Platforms
  • Colorblind-friendly Color Palette
  • Inclusive Branding Messages
  • Use of Accessible Fonts and Typography

Web Design Challenges

The Internet allows us to present content which falls under all of the categories of media already mentioned. It also presents its own challenges. Here are some steps we can take to ensure an inclusive environment while designing for consumption of media on the web:

  • High Contrast Design Elements
  • Clear Navigation
  • Descriptive Link Text
  • Alternative Text for Images
  • Keyboard Accessibility
  • Semantic HTML

Steps for Ensuring Accessibility

Accessibility Mindset

Fostering empathy is the cornerstone of establishing an accessibility mindset. By empathizing with individuals with disabilities, we cultivate a deeper understanding of their needs, which guides us in prioritizing inclusive design practices.

Established Practices

By integrating accessible practices into our design and production processes, we proactively ensure inclusivity in all our projects. This approach eliminates the need for retroactive accessibility fixes, saving time and resources while promoting accessibility from the outset.

Audit and Assess

Establishing an assessment strategy is vital for ensuring the effectiveness of our accessibility efforts. Regular audits allow us to measure progress, identify areas for improvement and maintain our commitment to creating inclusive content and experiences.

Design With Empathy

This bears repeating: Empathy is essential in inclusive design, fostering a deep understanding of diverse user needs and experiences. Prioritizing empathy enables designers to create inclusive and accessible solutions that account for all users’ unique requirements.

In the end, our emphasis on accessibility should promote modern design practices that accommodate diverse needs and abilities, thereby fostering inclusivity and broad effectiveness in our design projects.