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SMS Accessibility Best Practices

SMS Accessibility Best Practices

Taking a compliance-first approach to your SMS marketing program means you’re taking a customer-first approach. Go beyond baseline SMS compliance and elevate your marketing standards to meet ADA standards to reach and delight all audience

November 2, 2022

Accessible content isn’t just about following ADA compliance. It can help you reach more customers and strengthen customer loyalty. 

Brands that incorporate accessibility practices are opening up new avenues to reach their key audiences and solidifying consumer satisfaction by practicing inclusivity. Website regulations are becoming the norm, but other digital communication channels should also live up to these standards.  

Approximately 15% of the world’s population, or one billion people, lives with a disability. In the United States:

So, for millions of potential customers, accessible content isn’t solely about convenience – it’s a necessity. And taking a compliance-first approach to your SMS marketing program means you’re taking a customer-first approach. Go beyond baseline SMS compliance and elevate your marketing standards to meet ADA standards to reach and delight all audiences.

What is the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) for Accessible Design?

Accessible design simply means the design process and final product meet the needs of people with various disabilities. Signed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides civil rights protections to people with disabilities in public accommodations, transportation, employment, government services, and more. Importantly, in 2010, the United States Department of Justice released guidelines for ADA-accessible design.

Overall, these guidelines and standards ensure that everyone, regardless of physical or mental impairment, can access services and information. And that notion should extend into every marketer's toolkit, so they can reach the widest audience possible. 

There are many ADA guidelines and resources marketer’s can use, and oftentimes simple solutions to make already-existing materials ADA compliant. 


Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for SMS Marketing

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are developed in cooperation with individuals and organizations, with the goal of providing a single shared standard for web content accessibility.

 WCAG accessibility generally applies to web content and information on a web page or application, including:

  • Natural information such as text, images, and sounds
  • Code or markup that defines the structure, presentation, and more

WCAG Guidelines are organized under four principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. 

  • Perceivable: Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can discern. 
  • Operable: User interface components and navigation must be feasible for all users.
  • Understandable: Information and the operation of the user interface must be coherent and intelligible, and can’t go beyond the user's understanding. 
  • Robust: Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

SMS Opt-ins With ADA and WCAG Guidelines 

To employ ADA guidelines in your marketing and SMS platforms, marketers should adhere to the four outlined WCAG guideline principles. By having ADA and WCAG-compliant SMS and MMS text messages and opt-ins, you can ensure you’re reaching the widest market possible.  

There are a few ways to employ these guidelines. 


Utilize Contrast

Perceivable: WCAG Guideline 1.4.3. This allows users to see, read or listen to the content easily. 

The visual representation of text and images of text should have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1. And by employing font type, size, and spacing, marketers can develop dynamic content that still complies with ADA guidelines. 

Voyage helps to verify that your content appears compliant with contrast specifications that ensure your text and images are fully legible. 


Website Navigation

Operable: WCAG Guideline 2.1.1. This helps users easily interact with and navigate through a keyboard interface – in addition to mouse inputs. Developing clear language, diversifying button sizes, and utilizing modals can help make navigation more clear and accessible to those with disabilities.

When it comes to design, all modals should be accessible and device friendly. With Voyage’s custom modals, you can create buttons that are large enough to be clicked on and exited with ease.


Be Explicit 

Understandable: WCAG Guideline 3.3.1. Instructions on your website should be clearly written with meaningful information architecture to appropriately reach all users. For example, if an input error is detected, it should be identified and described to the user through text, and the same goes for opt-in language.

You can avoid uncertainty and protect your brand from invalid consent claims when using Voyage's pre-populated opt-in language.


Make it Comprehensive

Robust: WCAG Guideline 4.1.1. Assistive technologies should be able to read and understand the interface and content on your website. Any content elements that use markup language (for example, HTML) should have complete start and end tags and unique IDs—and should not contain duplicate attributes. This includes accessibility for screen readers and utilizing alternative text accessibility. 

With Voyage, you have the ability to include alternative text for images that are not described, ensuring that your content works well with assistive technology while building custom text messages and modals. 


Voyage Helps Protect Your Marketing Program

With constantly evolving SMS compliance and deliverability protocols, Voyage’s goal is to protect your SMS marketing and commerce programs to the fullest extent possible. 

The Voyage platform enforces compliance and has dedicated resources consistently canvassing the regulatory landscape, ensuring your SMS components are ADA compliant. 


Request a demo of the Voyage SMS platform today to see the most powerful SMS marketing and message commerce platform in the world. 

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