ADA Compliance – Need For Accessible Email Automation

Introduction

ADA compliance generates a growing need for email automation for businesses looking to make their customer communications inclusive and accessible. According to The World Bank, a billion people live with some form of disability [1]. There are four categories of disabilities – visual, auditory, mobility and cognitive. Visual, motor and cognitive impairment create frictions that limit the ability to perform various actions online, like making a purchase, reading about a product or its company, or understanding the message behind marketing collateral. In today’s world, inclusivity is the way to successful business relationships. An inclusive approach to Customer Communications Management can help businesses accelerate their reach and brand footprint in unimaginable ways, paving the way to long-term customer retention benefits.

Along the same lines, they should also adhere to the aspects of Disability Inclusion to address the needs of a billion users across the globe, which are established through laws like ADA. ADA – or the Americans with Disabilities Act, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with various disabilities. It ensures that people with disabilities have equal opportunity in all aspects of life. Businesses in the Financial, Hotel, and Governmental industries must ensure that their communications are ADA-compliant. Over time, an ever-increasing number of business firms are discovering that although a transition from print and mail to digital communications does cut down costs, the cost component for accessibility is a new addition that can sky-rocket if not handled well.

Benefits of ADA-compliant Customer Communications strategy

1.It helps you reach more customers: Simply put, by having an inclusive customer communications management plan in place, you can reach more customers through compliant yet simplified content pieces. While most marketing strategies focus on elements of a hook to get their message to work, it’s only after you make your communications ADA-compliant that you can make sure these elements succeed for people with disabilities too. This also gives you an edge over your competitors who are not working for people with disabilities.

2.It generates strong word of mouth: By making your customer communications ADA-compliant, you win additional points for your customer satisfaction scores and end up with a better brand impact. When your customers see your elements of disability inclusion in action, they speak highly and favourably of your products and services. Strong word-of-mouth publicity happens through social media and various offline channels. It can help you save on significant marketing costs, especially when you don’t have too much of a marketing budget.

3.It helps you avoid legal repercussions: Without ADA-compliant Customer Communications in place, you risk attracting legal implications. Accessibility-related lawsuits are rising – 11000 federal lawsuits were filed in 2020, an annual increase of 23% [2]. As your business grows, you must be careful of such legal implications. Failure to have ADA compliance attracts steep penalties to the tune of thousands of dollars. It helps to realise that the legal repercussions of ADA non-compliance can go beyond direct financial damages, as it can attract triggers of audits across your businesses. Your customers may not trust you much if they get to know of these legal issues – you may incur significant opportunity costs.

4.It taps into your customer base with lasting empathy and genuine care: With ADA compliance measures in your Customer Communications, you address the inherent needs and pain points of people with disabilities which many businesses don’t. As a result, you come across as highly empathetic and also build a perception that you care enough to represent everyone, not just people who are non-disabled.

ADA Compliance requirements in Email communications

With Email being one of the best digital channels for Customer Communications, businesses striving to make their Email communications ADA-compliant need to ensure the following:

1.Emails need to work well with screen readers: Screen reader tools help people with visual impairment by changing the email text into vocalised audio. If the email body is structured with correct headers and sub-headers, short texts with well-used sentence separators like full stops, commas, semi-colons etc., screen readers can process them accurately. The resulting audio can effectively convey the message you intended for your customers.

2.Images in the email body should have alt texts: Alternative texts with the images in your emails improve accessibility through screen readers and should be present with images. Alt texts should be concise and explain the image to people with disabilities, such as the reason the image is available, what it contains, and so on.

3.Emails should use appropriate colour contrasts: Appropriate colour contrasts between email texts and background should have a high contrast ratio (usually above 4.5:1) so that visually impaired people can easily read them.

4.Email should have appropriate font size and typography: Too small fonts are difficult to read and can be a bad idea to be used in customer communications as it can lead to significant drop-offs. Font sizes of at least 14px or more should be good. Similarly, avoid using decorative fonts, add enough white spaces, and maintain sufficient space between characters and between multiple lines. Prioritise left-aligned texts over centrally-aligned ones to make the texts accessible for people with dyslexia.

5.Emails should have accessible links: Making email links accessible at a code level ensures that people who cannot use a mouse or a pointing device can still access your links through keyboard shortcuts.

The challenges to implementing ADA Compliant Emails

The primary reason businesses struggle to make their customer communications via email ADA-compliant is that they not only have to incorporate these compliance recommendations at a code level but also to handle them at scale.

A typical Email design system should:

1.Support various language and text attribute settings so that screen readers can work well.

2.Give the flexibility to handle email subject, title and text headers.

3.Provide optimisations like focus selector and skip navigation links to enable better keyboard navigation for users with motor and visual impairment.

4.Be able to handle personalisation and localisation requirements in customer communications along with ADA compliance.

How Perfect Doc Studio helps you overcome these challenges

Perfect Doc studio, a Customer Communications Management solution, has a unique Email design system. It automates the generation of email structure and content in line with the ADA-compliant accessibility requirements. It comes with in-built screen readers to preview the design and a guided design system that can help businesses comply with these regulations out-of-the-box, without any additional costs.

Perfect Doc Studio’s email design system has features that can help with the personalisation of emails while keeping them aligned with accessibility requirements. It is easy to onboard, operate and audit. Clients using Perfect Doc Studio shell out just 1000-2000 dollars a month instead of the millions of dollars quoted by their competitors in the market.

Conclusion

The way ahead for businesses is to reach out to customers in a way that doesn’t ignore people with special needs. Empathy in today’s business world can go a long way beyond increasing return on investment and avoiding legal implications. With inclusivity in customer communications, brands can truly make a difference in the world.

Perfect Doc Studio offers a solution that can address the needs of people with disability and allows them to participate in the business transactions of the modern digital world on an equal footing as non-disabled people.

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