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Making membership more accessible with tech

Inclusivity is a huge part of modern UX design – and it’s especially important to membership organisations, who need to cater to a diverse set of users.

Web accessibility is what makes this possible – the use of inclusive web measures. These help to remove barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, information and services on digital platforms.

In the same way that a lift provides an alternative to stairs for disabled people trying to access a train platform, these measures ensure no one is left behind in the digital world.

But why is this important?

The internet is an increasingly integral resource in many aspects of our lives, so it’s vital to provide equal access and equal opportunities to people with disabilities.

In the world of membership, making your digital platform more accessible with the use of technology will help you reach new customers, drive engagement and increase loyalty among current users.

Inclusive digital design

Accessibility barriers cover a wide spectrum of users. You need to think beyond physical disabilities alone.

By 2030, the World Health Organisation estimates that one in six people in the world will be aged 60 years and over. This means that a significant proportion of the population (around one billion people) will likely encounter a decline in cognitive ability, or be impacted by a disability, that will affect how easily they access information on the internet.

So – the growing ageing population represents a huge target market that’s potentially being excluded from membership websites and apps. Depending on the industry you’re a part of, that could have huge ramifications for your core audience.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines break down accessibility into four main principles:

  • Perceivable: can content be consumed in different ways?
  • Operable: can it function without confusion or complex interactions?
  • Understandable: can users understand how the interface functions and the information on the site?
  • Robust: can different assistive devices understand the website?

Intuitive UI/UX design forms the cornerstone of our web accessibility measures here at 6B, as we always aim to deliver easy-to-navigate user experiences that engage, convert and encourage repeat custom.

For businesses operating in the membership sector, accessibility improvements won’t turn off current customers – it will only help attract new ones.

By acknowledging users with impairments, you’re letting them know that their rights matter, and their business is valued.

A mobile-first mindset

One decision that will shape your UI/UX design is whether or not your company wants to adopt a mobile-first strategy.

Mobile-first is exactly what it sounds like – it prioritises your company’s mobile app and mobile web app capabilities over desktop.

The idea is that once a mobile user experience has been perfected, other devices will naturally follow. It negates the need to scale down and simplify your desktop website to fit the requirement of mobile screens.

Why are more and more businesses adopting a mobile-first approach?

Largely because members want to be able to access content and services on the go. They would rather scroll through their mobile devices than log on to a desktop, or interact with your business in a face-to-face setting.

This approach not only opens up the door to a whole new membership base, but it also helps your business connect with members on a deeper level. Your business can leverage social media marketing and chatbots to be more responsive to customers and nurture a positive brand relationship with them.

Prioritising your mobile app will give your business valuable insights into member behaviour. This, combined with data tracking, enables you to tailor the user experience to individual members, allowing you to make changes based on preferences or aspects of your app they’re struggling with.

Harnessing the power of voice

Voice activated speakers have become a regular fixture in our homes for a while now. For any child born within the last eight years, it’s become second nature to master the command of Amazon’s Alexa once they can talk.

We’re able to interact hands-free with these devices, so imagine what the same technology can do for someone who suffers from arthritis or dyslexia when using a keyboard or mouse.

For many of us who use these objects every day, the ease with which we press a key or click a button is easy to take for granted.

Speech recognition technology enables a world of productive possibilities for people suffering from such problems. And the best part is, almost every electronic device you can think of – be it a phone, tablet or laptop – will have this capability built-in as standard.

Voice recognition not only makes your company’s content and services more accessible, helping users write more fluently and without putting strain on their body, but it also empowers your employees to work more effectively.

Most people can talk a lot faster than they can type, so this software enables hands-free computing which offers additional scope for multi-tasking.

Enabling accessibility with AI

Assistive technology is an effective tool to help make your website or mobile app more accessible.

As the world we live in becomes increasingly connected by and dependent on the virtual sphere, the need for captions on video content is obvious. Increasingly, AI is being leveraged to transcribe videos for subtitles, and even generate captions for live broadcasts to ensure no users are left out.

The use of AI in this field not only makes your content more accessible to customers with a hearing impairment, but it also saves employees from trawling through footage to do this manually, saving your organisation precious time and money.

A further example of how AI is being used to make web content more accessible is Facebook’s automatic alternative text tool. Rather than relying on humans to enter ‘alt-text’ when uploading a photo, Facebook uses an algorithmic-based model to automatically generate detailed descriptions.

Ultimately, this means that users who suffer from visual impairment can enjoy a more rounded experience of using the platform. These members can now enjoy the two billion images uploaded to the site daily, and will continue to engage with the platform as their experience has been catered to and enhanced.

This is something that membership organisations can utilise to ensure existing members aren’t excluded from fully engaging with content, and prospective members aren’t put off from joining.

Maximising accessibility is a core consideration for 6B.

Through the use of cutting-edge tech and a knowledge of accessibility best measures, we build user-focused platforms that help your business reach new audiences, drive engagement, and strengthen member ties to your brand.

 

If you’d like to gain a deeper understanding of the accessibility improvements you could implement to your existing website or app, get in touch with us today.

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