by Jane Sandwood
The travel industry has taken off in the past several years. Stellar photography and charisma by the bucketload have all contributed to the rise of the Influencer and those individuals’ position as key elements in travel advertising. There are fields of conversation about travel, though, that influencers and agencies alike have neglected.
Consider that fact that in the United States alone, 6.8 million people use assistive mobility devices of some kind. Yet little mainstream conversation exists discussing how travel influencers can include these people in their content. Let’s touch on the different aesthetic and content-oriented ways in which accessibility can be integrated into your travel marketing and see if your audience can’t become a little more well-rounded.
The Complexity of Accessibility
Before looking at web design, though, consider the many layers of accessibility and disability that exist. “Disability” can refer to a person’s lack of mobility or to a condition that’s more severe, like Down Syndrome. Creating content and aesthetics that are accessible, then, require you to consider two factors: what kind of disability your audience may have, and how you can most appropriately address that difficulty.
It’s worth noting, too, that a concern for content accessibility will also make it easier for a non-disabled audience to interact with your travel content. People who are older, for example, can’t stand the same levels of webpage brightness as a younger crowd. When you create with a broader audience in mind, you make yourself more open to the possibility of greater audience interaction.
Capturing The Right Aesthetic
The first thing you can do in order to make your travel content more accessible to to consider how it looks on a screen. To maintain accessibility, think about the color balance of your homepage, the brightness of your text, and the font that you’ve chosen to use. Comic Sans, for example, catches a lot of flack for its appearance, but it is one of a few fonts designed to be accessible to readers with dyslexia. You’ll also want to consider your page’s color balance and whether or not any videos on the page play automatically – both of these elements, and more, can effect the readability of your work.
Producing Relevant Content
Beyond aesthetic, you’ll also need to consider the nature of your content. Are you approaching the cities they travel in with accessibility in mind? It’s true that the influx of improved technologies make it easier for disabled peoples to travel. However, there are still locations or entire cities where a disabled person will be markedly less safe than others, if only due to the way the city has been unthinkingly designed. Seek out other resources that speak to disabled travel, and keep your content city-specific. While it would be impossible to touch on every disability in a single post, do what you can to show that the cities you visit have accessible places that your audience can visit that are either parallel to your normal route or entertaining alternatives.
Keeping Inclusion Natural
As you look to modify your aesthetics and content, do what you can to make the inclusion as natural as possible. Growing up with a disability or grappling with declining health are trying and isolating experiences. Learning how to casually include disability-friendly content on an accessible travel webpage will not only make that work more accessible to a broader audience, but it will make said audience feel, for lack of a better term, normal. Sprinkle in keywords such as “accessible,” “disability-friendly,” and so on, but keep the touch light. That attentive boost of confidence is as powerful as any individual influencer’s reputation.
So, what’s the long and short of accessibility? For one, accessibility and disability are complex issues, but you need to pay them mind if you want to reach a more expansive audience. You can do this by adjusting the aesthetic of your content and by naturally weaving accessible travel advice and locations into your posts. Once you get into the habit of making your travel accessible, you’ll find that it’s not so hard at all to open yourself up to this new perspective.