Thousands of companies are currently reviewing and revising websites and documents for accessibility, inclusion and ADA compliance.
They’re missing a crucial piece of the puzzle: their brand.
Companies spend countless hours, days, weeks creating meaningful marketing and collateral to represent their brand – only to spend another chunk of time adjusting and modifying, correcting and corrupting, to fit ADA accessibility guidelines.
Instead of “fixing” the issue after the creative is done, it would be much more efficient and effective to make sure your brand itself is ADA compliant in the first place. And when it comes to accessibility, what’s good for your brand is good for your business.
Here are our 7 favorite ways to build accessibility and inclusion right into your brand guidelines.
Add contrast ratio guidelines. Set rules for font size and weight on white backgrounds, colored backgrounds and reverse text. Shoot for 4.5:1 ratio for standard text and 3:1 for large text (>14 pt). Here’s a great tool for measuring contrast ratios.
Extend your color palette. How do you stay within ADA color contrast guidelines? By giving yourself more brand colors to play with.
Allow tints and shades. If your favorite brand green won’t pass the color contrast test as a background for text, don’t throw it out. Maybe a 50% tint of the same color will work.
Design with clear hierarchy. Help your brand be more accessible and easier to translate for electronic screen readers by building in simplicity and structure. Establish cleaner layout templates with fewer design elements and more whitespace.
Reconsider text on images. Layering text on photos or graphics can be a bold choice, but it can also create a lot of visual noise that can hurt ADA accessibility. Might be best to steer clear of the whole thing.
Watch your reading level. ADA compliance isn’t just about visuals. If your brand guidelines are complete, they should also include a brand voice and messaging guide. Add a standard prescribing a reading level of grade 7-9 or lower; you won’t have to come back and edit your copy a second time.
Limit the number of typefaces. Too many brand typefaces on one page make it less readable. Choose 1-2 each for both print and online applications, and stick to them.