So you finally just finished getting your brand together. Hopefully, you’ve got a kick-ass logo that represents everything your company stands for. You’ve got a rockin’ color palette and typography that compliments your vision with some iconography to boot. And your website? It looks uh-maze-ing.
That is until someone from your team (or a partnered team, hi!) tells you that your fancy new website is not accessible. Perchance your font size is too small or the colors don’t make for good contrast. Alt tags? What are alt tags? WCAG? Never heard of it. What are you to do? You just spent an incredible amount of time on your company’s brand and everything was perfect just to get blindsided by something that maybe doesn’t seem that important.
As a brand agency, trust us when we say we see this all the time. Part of our work has to do with making accessibility recommendations; not just because we don’t want you to get sued, but we also want to make sure that your company is including every type of user who might come across your site. This may include something as minute as upping the font size a little bit and making sure the headings are consistent for easy tab-navigation.
Sometimes it can be more complicated than that, such as a major brand color not having enough contrast to work for buttons on your 300 page website. At 300FeetOut, we try to provide the best solutions to accommodate the WCAG guidelines, but ultimately it’s your decision. Maybe you’re okay with just an A standard instead of AAA. For some people, the brand can be a higher priority than accessibility.
If you’re already too deep and don’t have time or budget to re-brand, then hire an agency or someone who can make the proper recommendations; someone who stays up to date with current trends and knowledge. We do a deep dive review of both the back end and front end accessibility issues and then rate them for you in order of importance. Because yes, there is some subjectivity at play. We then provide an estimate of how long will take to update your site, either doing the changes all at once or scheduled out over a specific time frame.
The most direct way to make sure your brand is accessible in design, is by incorporating it in the process from the very early stages of your brand creation, whether it’s a rebrand or a new one. When you’re looking for a team to help with your (re)brand, it might be worth asking them about their experience in accessibility to make sure that they’re at least aware of inclusivity in designing and building products for you.
When you’re building out a color palette, the designers can have a separate color palette or color ratio use for the web vs. print. Maybe you have web fonts that are more legible than in print. Developers also can provide a lot of input early on, such as making sure headings are meeting the right standards and that they have the tools necessary to review accessibility maintenance before launching a product live.
If you have it in your budget, it may be worth investing and exploring accessibility toggling features on your website, like the most recently updated White House site. Having a toggle for font size, or for better contrast (i.e. dark mode) can help you meet those visual accessibility requirements without having to compromise your brand by too much. As our Technology Director said, “it bridges the space where accessibility meets usability. Some people like having dark mode available, even if they don’t need it for accessibility.” Now that’s what I call inclusive design!
With all that said, you should obviously not ignore the primary look of the website, but know there is some wiggle room to help make sure your brand is seen. If you have a team that’s experienced in accessibility (*cough* *wave* *cough*), then it goes without saying that whatever route you take, you’ll be in good hands.