Watch: Why designing for disability must be central to any digital plan

Websites are still overwhelmingly inaccessible to disabled people despite legal requirements. With new platforms constantly emerging, it's crucial that accessibility and inclusive design are championed from the outset of any digital plan, said panelists at a SapientNitro event.

Speaking at SapientNitro’s event "Accessibility through Digital Inclusion", AbilityNet’s co-founder, Robin Christopherson, made the case for why brands and agencies must ensure their websites and apps are accessible and easy to use by everyone. 

"You can’t make any assumptions about who is consuming [content and products], when or how. You need to make content for anyone and everything, consumed in every way," Christopherson said.

He also pointed out that prioritising digital accessibility doesn’t only benefit individuals with disabilities: "You’ll be improving the design of your website for every single user." 

With the recent appearance of products such as Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, which don’t have a classic visual interface and instead rely on voice commands, accessibility is taking new forms and presenting opportunities for brands to be pioneers in the realm of inclusive design. 

Motivational speaker and author Chris Moon, who lost an arm and a leg clearing landlines in Mozambique, added: "Companies need to see this as a customer service issue, and a lot of good companies do. Things are really improving."

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).