Disability affects many people at different times and in different ways. It’s a spectrum from permanent and temporary disability to situational impairment. For example, unfamiliar healthcare topics could throw off even a literate and educated site visitor. And when factoring in non-native English speakers – and there are many clinicians, providers, and patients in this category – confusing messaging or instructions create digital barriers and detract from the user experience.
As I explained in my previous post, taking the time to evaluate your digital experience and improve digital accessibility will have a big impact on both your audience’s and your organization’s success.
So, is your health content digitally accessible?
Consider these scenarios when thinking about your digital environment and how well it performs for your healthcare consumers.
- How easy is it for anyone to access your medical treatments, symptom checkers, and providers?
- Do your videos include closed captions and transcripts for people with hearing loss or for people in a noisy environment?
- Is your health content written in a way that can be easily understood by someone without a medical background?
- Are barriers preventing site visitors from completing online forms, such as job applications and requests for more information, because of missing or confusing form labels?
- Is your organization leveraging assistive technologies on your website or mobile app (e.g., Apple’s VoiceOver/Siri, Google Talkback, or ZoomText) to help prospective and current patients find a location for a doctor’s appointment, or to access a campus map?
If the answer to any of these questions is “I’m not sure” or “No,” your organization is both at risk of discrimination and missing out on driving affordable and accessible care to meet the demands of digitally connected consumers.
Seize the opportunities for improving accessibility
To keep step with the need for accessible digital environments (e.g., patient and provider websites, video content, digital forms and documents, text messages, chatbots, and native mobile apps), leading healthcare and life sciences organizations must seize opportunities to create the best possible digital experience. Why? Adopting digital accessibility is like a rising tide that lifts all boats. It improves the online experience for everyone consuming your healthcare information, not just for people with disabilities.
To cite just one example, accessible websites perform better in search engine rankings because of their context-relevant content and design. “Highly optimized websites with features such as relevant, optimized header tags and ADA-compliant code and design are becoming more and more synonymous with the designs Google expects and promotes in search rankings,” says Lance Hayden, digital marketing specialist at Perficient Digital. This one strategic decision alone makes it easier, and therefore more accessible, for any consumer to find the best information for his/her healthcare needs.
For more information about how to improve digital accessibility in your healthcare or life sciences organization, download our guide, Enhance the Digital Health Experience with Digital Accessibility.
I’m a Senior User Researcher out of the Atlanta office.