Keeping Employees Informed About Customer Experience Transformation Efforts

According to TechTarget, “Customer experience management is the collection of processes a company uses to track, oversee, and organize every interaction between a customer and the organization throughout the customer lifecycle.”

Gartner defines it as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.”

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Break Free B2B Series: Ben Wallace on the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ in B2B Marketing

Break Free B2B Interview with Ben Wallace

Break Free B2B Interview with Ben Wallace

How does the air we breathe affect the work we produce?

It’s not a question I’d pondered very frequently, until I had the opportunity to chat with Ben Wallace for the latest episode of Break Free B2B. But it’s one of many considerations that came to light during his illuminating interview with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis and myself.

As CEO of Link Positive, a clean-energy business development service, and co-founder of soon-to-launch energy optimization implementation startup Minify Energy, Ben consults companies about energy efficiencies, reducing environmental footprint, and creating a more comfortable workspace. As he explains, there are business and marketing implications that go well beyond what is apparent on the surface.

To illustrate this, he urges a focus on the “Triple Bottom Line”: Planet, Productivity, Profit. All three are intertwined, and they are critical to the way B2B organizations present themselves and succeed in the marketplace today and in the critical years ahead, factoring climate change and the values of new generations defining the workforce.

[bctt tweet= »Planet, Productivity, Profit: These components make up the Triple Bottom Line, according to @BenWallace. #BreakFreeB2B #SustainableBusiness » username= »toprank »]

In our wide-ranging conversation with him, Ben explores sustainability from many angles, including how it functions as a marketing tool, practical ways to make improvements, the concrete effects on employees, and what the future holds.

Break Free B2B Interview with Ben Wallace

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:31 – Following in his father’s footsteps
  • 3:27 – Moving from consumer goods to B2B 
  • 10:50 – Shifting to building management 
  • 12:11 – The influence of air quality on cognitive ability
  • 16:56 – Equipping old building to meet new environmental challenges
  • 22:27 – Influencing employee health when you don’t own the building
  • 26:00 – The value of green buildings
  • 28:45 – The ultimate in user-centric building design
  • 29:55 – Sustainability as a marketing tool
  • 32:55 – The role of compliance programs in sustainability
  • 34:20 – Focusing on sustainability as a corporate value
  • 37:13 – Have we lost the war against climate change?
  • 42:19 – Does your company need a sustainability audit? 

Susan: Ben, could you talk a little bit about an “aha” moment which made you think you could help make workplaces more healthy environments? 

Ben: The vast majority of buildings out there don’t have smart sensing and controls in them—about 15 to 20% of the buildings have smart controls, and it’s mostly the class A high-rises for those who can afford it. But now, technologies are emerging with low cost sensors [such as] cloud compute—and the technology is there, especially with some of these born in the cloud, born digital, companies, making it accessible and affordable for pretty much everyone. And, also taking into account that usability factor and making it easy and so it’s not as complex to deploy … 

I think the biggest aha there … is occupant experience.  And, wellness and indoor air quality is one of the factors that has a huge impact on your cognitive ability. And there’s CO 2 levels … outside they’re around 400-500 parts per million, but in a building, they can rise up especially as people are breathing and you get a lot of occupants in a building … You know, you find you might be tired after lunch and blaming it on the pasta lunch you had, but when it’s quite often the CO 2 levels rising to a point where you’re really more lethargic, and have less cognitive ability. 

And so one of the big things that we saw there was the correlation of indoor air quality and productivity. And there’s something called the Cog Effect Study that Harvard has been working on for a few years now that has shown 100% cognitive ability improvement for green buildings that have better indoor air quality. 

And so the sad irony about that is many schools, for instance, have really poor air circulation … So the place where you need the most cognitive ability in a learning environment is often suffering the most are those with CO 2 levels. And so that was something that really was brought to light. The people in the building that are the ultimate customers—your tenants, your employees and everyone else.

[bctt tweet= »You might be tired after lunch and blaming it on the pasta you had, but it’s quite often the CO 2 levels rising to a point where you’re more lethargic and have less cognitive ability. — @BenWallace #Productivity #BreakFreeB2B » username= »toprank »]

Susan: How can agencies make more sustainable choices?

Ben: You can take control of your waste stream and you know, give some upward pressure to your property owners … And as well, thinking about just the smart use of scheduling. I mean, there’s a lot of equipment that runs 24/7 out there and lights stay on. Buildings are the second-largest consumer of energy after transportation in the US. HVAC and lighting makes up somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of that typically. 

So, there’s quite a bit that can be done with just some smart scheduling and smart controls. … Start looking at some [energy-saving programs]. US GGBC is a great resource for that, which is the Green Building Council. And the Department of Energy, which is where the ENERGY STAR benchmarking program exists—quite a bit of resources available there … 

I think you, as marketers, and as an agency, you can do a few things. One, you can choose clients with that factor as well, just as they’re looking at choosing you based on that. Maybe look at those who are in the emerging new energy economy and sustainability-oriented organizations. But I think just bringing that forward as much as possible, knowing the factors from supply chain and renewable waste stream and highlighting what your employees are doing out in their homes and in their communities as well … Recognizing what you do collectively is something that you could just conscientiously keep track of and look at how to improve your energy efficiency and good corporate citizenship from a global climate perspective.

Susan: Can you speak to incorporating your sustainability efforts into company values and brand messaging? 

Ben: Absolutely. We’ve seen an even flow of sustainability messaging over the years. There’s a period of kind of heavy greenwashing that was going on in the ‘80s, in the ‘90s. And so you’ve seen recycling programs and you’ve seen a little bit of energy efficiency with ENERGY STAR products and things like that. But the sustainability and corporate citizenship story can get a lot bigger …

It’s really expanded and it’s more and more important, widely recognized as something especially critical for us. They are sometimes considered the triple bottom line benefits. You’ve got profits and it’s definitely good for profits if you’re saving energy, saving on maintenance, getting a better lease. You are creating a more productive environment—there’s a huge set of layers of profit opportunity.

Really what we come back to so much in this is: how is it supporting wellness and reduced absenteeism and, just a happy productive workforce? But then the planet impact is the third “P” of that … There’s a lot of companies and states and cities that are just plowing ahead with a path to 100% renewable or zero carbon footprint. And so it’s a long haul to get there. But there are ways that you can not only save money and reduce your carbon and start measuring … to get to net zero over time—consuming less energy or producing more energy than you consume is actually going to be positive. There’s opportunities around that from a corporate perspective and roadmap that will align more so with what cities and counties are doing. 

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

The post Break Free B2B Series: Ben Wallace on the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ in B2B Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Top 8 Ways Small Businesses Can Improve their Social Media Presence

Social media gives an amazing asset to outreach: Companies can share stories, talk about occasions or offers, or examine solutions or services with intrigued clients or potential customers. While only one out of every odd private company has put aside the time and money to set up an online technique or presence.

Private businesses or new companies can procure immense benefits by simply improving their social media presence. They need to keep up a protocol where they should fill in as a team. Filling in as a team will bring fortune. Tolerance is important to get results. Just if, your team is not kidding towards their objective, your business will in the long-run growth. There is no such issue in dealing with the social media handle of your site. You can hire social media consultant to expedite your page at the top. For legitimate support of your site, these consultants will demonstrate valuable. For long term purposes, you need to design a system and set a few standards. At present, social media platforms are developing at a quick pace. You can cut down the use acquired on advancement and rather should work on social media advancement. Internet-based life is arriving at each side of the world. Individuals are progressively dynamic on such platforms and don’t lean toward window displaying any longer.

It isn’t said that offline advancement ought to be avoided yet online advancement that would be better. Aside from social media platforms, you can promote your business activities and area via the internet. The more audience you would pull in the better will be the outcomes. When your business holds consideration among individuals, the achievement is positive. Be persistent and have confidence in yourself. Filling in as a team rouses everyone. Cooperation is critical to progress. Each business whether little or large needs time to develop. Nothing occurs in a flash or days. Years of difficult work let the plant develop. Business resembles a tree and you need to sustain it appropriately. Use SEO strategy to improve the methodology as much as possible.

How the Small Businesses Can enhance Their presence on Social Media

  • Set a few objectives

Social media presence is essential alongside client satisfaction, consumer service, creating leads and pushing your business procedure. You have to uncover the important data identified with the new plans and strategy in the business world. You need to keep up your quality by offering numerous benefits to your clients. For that, you need to keep up certain standards and set a few objectives. Your team should better think about the thoughts and technique which ought to be actualized at the ideal time. Development relies on the efforts made towards consumer loyalty. Client association is vital with the goal that your business develops.
  • Increment Leads

As indicated by Social Media Examiner’s 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, over 65% of independent businesses are via social media to build leads. While the greatest bit of benefit of utilizing online networking isn’t only the leads. It’s the capacity to create profoundly qualified leads through advanced targeting. So how might you utilize social media to defeat that hindrance and improve the nature of leads for your private company?
An incredible place to begin is by advancing gated content via social media. For this, you need content that is good with the interests of your supporters. To comprehend this better, how about we look at a model from MarketingProfs. Perhaps the most recent post guides devotees to their virtual conference. The picture is pertinent to the content (and their audience), it’s unmistakable and effectively justifiable, setting the desire for their Twitter followers.
  • Improve Search Engine Ranking

There’s a lot of discussion around this subject, yet the main concern is this… social media can (and will) improve your search engine ranking. The domain authority of your site increments when the social media share rate increments. This prompts an improved search engine ranking of your pages. In any case, it’s something other than that. Numerous customers visit your social media profiles before going to your site to show signs of improvement comprehension of your brand before they make a buy. More visits to your online networking profiles will support your social media page ranking and improve their odds of showing up among the top positioned pages. Utilize free instruments like Tiny Rocket or Pro Rank Tracker to monitor your ranking.
  • Drive Traffic

For the most part, independent businesses utilize social media with an objective to build traffic to a site. This hypothesis was upheld by a similar Social Media Examiner report I referenced above with 78% of independent businesses saying they utilize social media to expand their site traffic. if you don’t have a solid nearness via social media, you’re missing out on naturally created traffic. This implies your traffic is produced from a similar set number of individuals as of now tailing you. You have to extend your brand reach if you need to drive more traffic.
To start with, make a profile for your private company on each significant social media platform. At that point, influence these platforms by sharing tweaked content to all of them. A successful web-based social networking nearness will urge your supporters to experience your lead channel and in the long run, arrive at your item acquiring page. Second, ensure you make it easy for the audience to impart your content to social sharing buttons unmistakably showed on your site.

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  • Watch out for Competitors

This may sound odd, however, social media is an incredible method to watch out for your rivals. It offers you the chance to screen and draw motivation from their exhibition. You can perceive what sort of substance they’re posting, and how they’re cooperating with their devotees. Internet-based life can likewise assist you with gaining from your rivals. There must be a valid justification why your rivals are performing superior to you.
  • Create Trust with Customers

Social media is far beyond only a stage for advancing and selling your private companies’ products or services. It offers you the chance to build trust with clients and create faithful clients. Since we realize internet based life can be utilized for building up a devoted fan base, we should perceive how it tends to be finished. All content you post on your online networking profiles ought to be bona fide, one of a kind, relatable, and drawing in for your audience.
  • Make Brand Recognition

For any independent company, bringing issues to light is a top objective. This is normally the situation since we realize that individuals want to buy from brands they perceive. When contrasted with customary media, online networking can place your brand before your target audience quicker and simpler. Furthermore, it gets your target audience to consider your organization, in any event, when they’re most certainly not. Make a point to put your time into making and posting applicable content, spread pictures, and profile photographs on social platforms. Spot your logo deliberately so it leaves an enduring effect in the psyche of possibilities.
  • Structure A Content Calendar

Numerous offices haven’t totally gotten used to the possibility of social media being an independent help for digital marketing. It requires in excess of a post to a great extent to have a functioning network. Make a far-reaching schedule, mapping out which content will be posted when and on which channels, total with social media copy.
Author Bio:

Sunny Chawla is a Hiring Director at Alliance International – an IT Recruitment Agency. He specializes in hire a social media manager , staffing, HR services, and Careers advice service for overseas and international businesses.

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How To Create an Impactful Marketing Analytics Dashboard

Before I first started wearing my Fitbit, I had no idea how many steps I took in a day, or what times of day I was most active. Introducing a Fitbit into my life allowed me to quantify my activity levels, and it was always gratifying to achieve the “10,000 steps!” buzz and light show on my wrist.

But it wasn’t until I looked at my Fitbit app dashboard that I had real, genuine insight into the step trends of my daily life, and could make actionable changes.

Tracking steps, coupled with an in-app dashboard, surfaced patterns in my behavior. The dashboard allowed me to visualize that data, and I learned that generally, I was most active during my commute times (walking to the bus and my building, and vice versa) and that my work-from-home days were very lazy. (It also showed me that my sleep was less restful even after one glass of wine, but I’ll leave that for another time.)

Screenshot of one of FitBit's in-app dashboardScreenshot of one of FitBit's in-app dashboard

Screenshot of one of FitBit's in-app dashboardScreenshot of one of FitBit's in-app dashboard
Sample screenshots from

My experience interacting with my Fitbit is a classic example of where a dashboard takes data to the next level. It captured information about my everyday step trends and translated them into meaningful displays, which allowed me to draw actionable conclusions about my fitness.

You can bring your marketing data to life in the same way. Enter: The Marketing Analytics Dashboard.

What Is a Marketing Dashboard?

Screenshot showing how data from a spreadsheet can translate into a dashboardScreenshot showing how data from a spreadsheet can translate into a dashboard
Data in a spreadsheet to data in a dashboard

Dashboards exist in a business environment to translate and display data in a way that is easily digestible for your audience. A marketing dashboard will usually report user behavior on a company website, measure the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns, and track progress on internal company conversion goals.

Dashboards can be built to explore a one-off data analysis, a recurring monthly report, or anything in between. The more significant consideration is your stakeholders. Which metrics do they care about? Which trends are relevant to them? The goal is to tailor your dashboard, in length and content, to who will be using it most.

What Should a Marketing Dashboard Include?

A marketing dashboard is comprised of two things: data and design.


The data you choose to include in your dashboard will vary depending on who the dashboard is for, the industry you operate in, and your business goals.

I like to start by making a big list of everything I want to include in my report. Which KPIs matter to your company? Which KPIs matter to your industry? If you’re measuring conversions in some capacity, those will almost certainly be relevant to include. Then, I break it into sections where each section gets its own page of the report. For digital marketing, that breakdown is often by channels of traffic.

Again, what data you choose to include in your dashboard will depend on what your organization is most interested in tracking. However, if you’re trying to figure out how to jump in, this is a good place to start.


Color Considerations

While you may be tied to brand colors, keep in mind that colors have psychological associations to most people. Those associations can vary a lot based on things like culture, environment, or upbringing, so be aware of your color choices. It’s not uncommon in the workplace for red to mean poor or declining performance, and green to be positive, or improving performance.

This brings me to another color consideration: color blindness. Because compelling visuals are critical to dashboards, their design should be accessible to all users. For more information, has an excellent breakdown of how to make design considerations that accommodate all users.

And finally, embrace white space. It gives your data and design elements some room to breathe. The less clutter, the easier it is for your audience to know what insights they should be taking away from the dashboard.

Screenshot of a dashboard with ample white spaceScreenshot of a dashboard with ample white space
Lots of beautiful white space a la Michael Wiegand

Appropriate Charts

Too often, charts can visually over-complicate data, or underrepresent it. In this example case, I removed a year-over-year feature and bumped out the timeframe to capture the same two years of data. In the first chart, the YoY comparison is difficult to parse out for “Product Revenue” because the bar graphs make comparison trends harder to see. That, layered with the click trends, makes the graph cluttered because it’s comparing two metrics and two timeframes.

Screenshot example of a cluttered GDS chartScreenshot example of a cluttered GDS chart
Previous Chart

In the revised chart, I removed the YoY feature and expanded the timeframe to two years. Here, we can see at a glance that while there are seasonal trends for clicks and product revenue, product revenue the second year far outperformed the first year. This small update to an existing chart made it much easier to read.

Screenshot example of the same data as the previous chart, but de-cluttered and easier to readScreenshot example of the same data as the previous chart, but de-cluttered and easier to read
New Chart

Need help choosing a chart? I like to use this workflow to help me decide.

Eliminate Unnecessary Design Elements

Don’t make me think” is the thesis and title of the UX/web design book by Steve Krug. The same principles can be applied to creating a dashboard. Are your design elements constructive or distracting? Eliminate any elements that aren’t required, or that take away from the message of the data.

How Do I Create a Dashboard?

You know what a dashboard is. And you have some best practices on how it should be used. But how do you create one? You’ll need a few things to get started.

Dashboarding Software

First and foremost, you need access to dashboarding software. There are some industry staples, such as Tableau, Power BI, Domo, and Chartio. There are also free alternatives like Google Data Studio (the Portent dashboard tool of choice!). I’ll be using Google Data Studio for the examples in this post.

Data Sources

Having a data source is the foundation of your dashboard! No data, no dashboard. Working with Google Data Studio, there are native integrations to other products that are built and maintained by Google. These are called “Google Connectors.”

Screenshot of available Google Connectors in GDSScreenshot of available Google Connectors in GDS
Examples of Google Connectors

If your dashboard can’t be connected to your data source through a Google Connector, there are many third-party “Partner Connectors,” which connect to other data sources via their own APIs.

Screenshot of available Partner Connectors in GDSScreenshot of available Partner Connectors in GDS
Examples of Partner Connectors

Whenever possible, use a native integration first. These connections are supported by the dashboarding software, and will be more reliable, and easier to connect.

If a native integration data source isn’t available, use a Partner Connector to use an API to connect to your data. Native and partner data sources are automated, so they automatically refresh and update as data becomes available.

If you have a data source that cannot be connected with a native or partner connector, the final (least preferred) source is a Google sheet. This is because the data is least automated, and will require manual upkeep. There are instances where this is the only way to connect data, but the more automated your dashboard can be, the better.

Sketch it Out

This is an optional step, but can be incredibly helpful when planning your dashboard and its components. Having a clear understanding of what information you will need to display will save you so much time formatting and reformatting your dashboard.

Start Building a Dashboard!

You’re ready to build! In Google Data Studio, navigate to the top left and click the button that says “Create.” This button will turn into a dropdown menu. Select “Data Source.”

Screenshot of GDS with an arrow pointing to the "create" buttonScreenshot of GDS with an arrow pointing to the "create" button

Screenshot of GDS with an arrow pointing to the "data source" buttonScreenshot of GDS with an arrow pointing to the "data source" button
This will take you to the Data Source Connection page. For this example, we’ll connect Google Analytics.

Screenshot of GDS with an arrow pointing to the Google Analytics account optionScreenshot of GDS with an arrow pointing to the Google Analytics account option
You’ll select the correct Google Analytics account based on the Property, Account, and View of the GA profile. Don’t forget to give your data source a name! Click “Connect” at the top right of the screen.

Screenshot of GDS with numbers that correspond to the elements in the instructions: property, account, view, connect, and name your data sourceScreenshot of GDS with numbers that correspond to the elements in the instructions: property, account, view, connect, and name your data source

After you’ve created a data source, you’re ready to create a dashboard. On the homepage, click “Create,” and this time, select “Report.”

Screenshot showing a data set imported into a blank GDS sheetScreenshot showing a data set imported into a blank GDS sheet

Google Data Studio will prompt you to select a data source upon arriving at the blank GDS slide. After that, the design widgets will appear at the top of the report, and you’re ready to begin building your dashboard! You can create a new design element at the top by clicking “Add a Chart.”

Screenshot showing the "add a chart" drop down in GDS dashboardScreenshot showing the "add a chart" drop down in GDS dashboard

Or, you can configure an existing chart by selecting it and navigating to this dropdown, which will pop out with available visualizations.

Screenshot of GDS dashboard with an arrow pointing to the drop down that lets you change the visualization formatScreenshot of GDS dashboard with an arrow pointing to the drop down that lets you change the visualization format

After selecting your data, click the dropdown in the top right to change the visualization.

Screenshot of GDS dashboard with the drop down that lets you change the visualization format expandedScreenshot of GDS dashboard with the drop down that lets you change the visualization format expanded

Remember that you can have design elements with different data sources, all on one slide! However, you will need to repeat the data source creation process outlined above.

Final Thoughts

And so, my fellow Dashboarders: ask not what your data can do for you, but what you can do for your data. If a step-counter dashboard can inspire me to make lifestyle changes, your marketing data is just waiting to make an impact.

If you’re inspired and looking for additional data visualization resources, here are a few!

Storytelling with Data” by Cole Knaflic
Art + Data” Book of Tableau Dashboards
Edward Tufte and any of his books.

The post How To Create an Impactful Marketing Analytics Dashboard appeared first on Portent.

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PR People: Don’t Do This #5

It should be painfully obvious by now, but if you’re pitching someone, for the love of God – make sure you’re pitching the right person. For example, if the journalist you are trying to pitch has this name: Katherine Riley, make sure you’re pitching the right Katherine Riley and not Katherine E. Riley. It’s confusing, I know, but if you could do that, this Katherine would really appreciate it. 

A little background 

With the holiday season coming up, droves upon droves of PR people (including this chump) are on the hunt for journalists and bloggers on the gift guide beat. It’s a yearly thing, and it’s one of those things about the job that needs to get done. Unfortunately for journalists and bloggers, their inboxes get flooded with unwanted and usually irrelevant pitches.

Take Katherine E. Riley, for instance. She’s a data journalist over at Flourish. Guessing from the tweet above, she’s getting spammed with a ton of pitches that I hope are intended for E! News’ gift guide writer, Katherine Riley. I mean, that’s the only logical answer here. 

I can see how people could get this confused, but cmon, this is pitching 101. Do your homework. It literally took me a couple of minutes to find the right email address for the other Katherine Riley over at E! News. It takes work, but again, we know how some PR people can struggle with this.

Either way, with the holiday gift guide season here in full swing, be sure you’re pitching the right people. People like Katherine E. Riley get enough email, let’s help them a bit with one less plopping in their inbox. 

If you enjoyed this post, check out the rest of our “PR People: Don’t Do This” series, be sure to check out some of the previous entries herehere, and here. Feel free to share them on Facebook or Twitter, we’ll appreciate the love.

This a regular series on The Future Buzz, so if you ever come across any gems like this, feel free to drop them in our contact page here or Twitter. For a quicker response, I’m always here too.

The post PR People: Don’t Do This #5 appeared first on The Future Buzz.

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How to Write Accessible Website Content

Web accessibility standards improve how users interact with your website and ensure everybody has an equal experience. Accessible content, as defined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, equalizes the playing field for users with visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological disabilities.

Online accessibility also achieves a lot more than assisting users who have disabilities. Accessible content also adds descriptive labels to CTAs and buttons, improves the site’s foundational SEO, promotes inclusive design and content layout, and helps people who use digital voice assistants, which are estimated to be in 8 billion devices by 2023.

There are three levels of web accessibility adherence, which provide flexibility based on your situation, user base, and goals.

A: 25 criteria, minimal impact on site design and structure.

AA: A-level requirements, plus 13 additional criteria. Moderate impact on site design and layout, specifically around legibility (color contrast, font type and size, image presentation).

AAA: Strict adherence to all WCAG guidelines. Significant impact on site design and layout. It is often used only by government agencies.

We recommend your website at least be A-level compliant and strive for AA-level. To learn more about each level and what you need to do to achieve them, read our developer’s guide to accessibility.

The technical details of web accessibility are only part of the equation to provide a seamless user experience and make your content easy to understand and engage with. Your users are the variables that determine what accessibility level you need, and how you should create your content.

Below are four concepts and associated techniques to improve user inclusion alongside the technical website accessibility guidelines.

1. Put Yourself in Your User’s Shoes

If you’re not accustomed to making accessible content, empathy can be an often overlooked aspect of content layout and design. When you plan a new landing page, app, call-to-action, interactive component, or blog post, consider when and how users will interact with the content. Use empathy scenarios or an inclusive design empathy generator, as seen in the image below, to broaden your perspective so you don’t forget crucial design elements and accidentally isolate users.

Illustration of a line drawing figure with the caption "Charlie has laryngitis and is in a car."Illustration of a line drawing figure with the caption "Charlie has laryngitis and is in a car."
Charlie is sick and can’t speak, use talk-to-text, or voice commands. Image courtesy of

Let’s imagine you operate a reservation-only restaurant. A user, Charlie, wants to make reservations for this evening. Unfortunately, she has laryngitis and can’t talk on the phone or speak loud enough for her digital assistant to make the reservation on her behalf. If your website doesn’t have a chat function or the option to make reservations via text, you’re likely going to lose Charlie’s business. The scenario holds true with users who are mute, deaf, or socially anxious, too.

2. Use Inclusive Language

How you say things holds equal weight to what you say. Certain words, phrases, or expressions can isolate, intimidate, and aggravate users. Although inclusive language isn’t directly related to WCAG accessibility standards, using phrases that reflect respect and dignity makes your copy friendly and welcoming.

Phrases that patronize, reflect bias, or include negative and derogatory terms, influence users’ impressions, attitudes, and actions. To avoid upsetting users or establishing negative associations with your brand, write copy that is neutral, accurate, and references groups with the terms they identify with.

Accessible word list of what to use and avoid to increase accessibility and inclusion of disabilitiesAccessible word list of what to use and avoid to increase accessibility and inclusion of disabilities

For example, “wheelchair user” is the commonly accepted vernacular for somebody who uses a wheelchair. Phrases like wheelchair-bound or handicapped are disparaging and often inaccurate, as many wheelchair users can leave their chairs for short time spurts.

Inclusive language also avoids technical jargon, slang, or undefined abbreviations. The rule of thumb is to define any lesser-known concepts immediately after the first use and define lesser-known acronyms or abbreviations before first use.

What terms you define depends on who your audience is and how intimately they know your industry and brand.

For example, if your users are U.S.-based, you can get away with not defining NASA. But you should identify its European counterpart, the European Space Agency (ESA), and include any shorthand you’ll use for that organization in parenthesis.

3. Create Descriptive Functions and Labels

Best practices for web design, content strategy, and online accessibility require anchor text, interactive site components, and CTAs to give users explicit expectations of what will happen if they click on a link or button.

This transparency empowers users by removing ambiguity, and it enables users who rely on e-readers or other assistive technology to accurately interact with your website’s content.

Regardless of how somebody accesses your site, they should be able to easily identify labels, images, CTAs, and form functionality. And elements for interactive content, like a form field, should have labels that are implicitly or explicitly associated with each function.

Imagine you have a visually-impaired user with an e-reader who is trying to submit their information via your website’s contact form. If you use the ambiguous CTA label “Submit,” the user may get confused about what part of the form they’re submitting. Is it one entry field or the whole form? If your company has multiple customer service departments, your user might also be worried if their form is being sent to the correct people.

However, the labels “Submit Request” or “Submit Technical Support Ticket” are descriptive and tell the user exactly what action they’re taking.

The Blank Sheet of Paper test is a good method to measure if your labels are descriptive enough and eliminate room for interpretation.

Here’s the test: If you wrote the label on a piece of otherwise blank paper and showed it to a stranger, would they understand what you are talking about? Is it descriptive enough that they would understand the context and have reasonable expectations about what action will happen?

4. Transcribe and Caption Videos and Podcasts

Video and podcast transcripts are great for SEO, and they’re necessary for good WCAG 2.1 levels A and AA adherence.

On the SEO side, search engines index transcripts easier than video or audio, which lets your content rank for related keywords. It’s also significantly easier for other people to link to a transcript than a video by itself. Your outreach campaigns benefit, too, because people are more likely to link to a quote via text than note a specific time in a video or audio file.

Moz, via its Whiteboard Friday series, is the industry leader at using transcripts for SEO and accessibility purposes. We recommend exploring the Whiteboard Friday category for best practice examples.

From an accessibility standpoint, transcripts benefit a wide range of users who engage with your content. This user base includes:

  • People who are deaf or hearing-impaired
  • Users with time constraints
  • Users in either a noisy or quiet environment, where audio can’t be heard or it’s a disruption
  • Non-native speakers
  • Bandwidth-limited users who may not have the ability to download the whole video or podcast

The second usability and WCAG accessibility consideration is to include in-sync subtitles or closed captioning for all videos. YouTube has a great guide that provides tips for creating a transcript file, and then teaches you how to upload that file to a YouTube video.

Although transcripts can be time-consuming for lengthy videos, they’re a necessary element to providing a good user experience and optimal content accessibility.

A Worthy Investment

Making your website accessible tackles a lot more than simple web design. Accessible content affects every user, and excellent accessibility is good content strategy. By implementing WCAG level A or AA standards, you’re committing to providing users the most inclusive experience you can muster. That effort sets your website apart from any competitor that doesn’t abide by the same commitment to a great, accessible user experience.

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