digital marketing strategies

If you’re a digital marketer, you know the most successful digital marketing strategies belong to the businesses that get their brands to reach as many consumers as possible. 

Whether it’s about targeting them based on their geographical location, preferences, online activity, or even purchase habits, marketers are putting in some serious overtime to figure out how to get in front of the right audience. But even with all the tools available to digital marketers, there’s a group of consumers that are almost always left out of the conversation or consideration when it comes to accessibility.

Today, DEI makes up a large portion of the conversation as businesses race to hold themselves accountable and put the right measures in place for better inclusion in workplaces and digital accessibility.

Why should neurodiverse individuals be part of the conversation?

Neurodivergent individuals—autistic, dyspraxic, dyslexic, and ADHD, for instance—make up a large portion of the world’s population with one in seven people considered to be neurodiverse. They experience the world differently than neurotypical people and as such, digital communications and accessible designs also need to be shaped so that they can reach a much wider audience.

At present, an alarming 97.4% of website homepages do not comply with the existing guidelines for digital accessibility. Why is this important? One in five people have some form of physical or hidden disability that prevents them from accessing online content. What marketers don’t realise is that this is a huge market that they’re simply not paying attention to.

The cost of leaving these individuals out of the conversion when creating digital marketing strategies can be harmful not just to the consumers but also to digital marketing companies because you’re leaving money on the table.

Are there any online guidelines for creating neurodiversity-friendly content?

In a word, yes. Perhaps the most widely known is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which have existed since 1999. Even though they’ve been around for nearly a quarter of a century, many are not aware of them and even those who are, think of them as a set of guidelines that primarily focus on the visually challenged or people who need assistive technology to browse the web.

But the truth is that the guidelines cover much more than that and giving it a proper read could help you understand the full scope of the guidelines and how everyone can create better, more accessible web content.

The guidelines expand its influence on those with cognitive disabilities like dyslexia, autism, and ADHD, to name a few. Even some of the most passionate advocates of accessible web design are people who identify as neurodiverse.

So let’s take a closer look at how businesses are making neurodiversity a part of their digital strategy.

How to make digital marketing more neurodiverse

Neurodiverse people experience the world differently and apply to both the physical and digital worlds. This is why aspects such as fonts, screen layouts, design formats, colours, navigational functions, and more need to make sense to neurodivergent people because the alternative is that they’ll be frustrated with your content and walk away to a company that’s more sensitive to their requirements.

Simple messaging

Literal, punchy, and direct is what you should be aiming for. If you get the urge to add abstract phrases, neurodivergent audiences will likely be confused and go elsewhere.

Write your copy in the active voice instead of the passive voice. For instance, instead of saying “The chairs can be stored indoors”, you can say “Store the chairs indoors”. When you’re done writing the copy, don’t just send it off to be published. Take a minute and get rid of anything you feel isn’t adding any value or isn’t critical to what you’re trying to convey.

Ask whether your content is telling a story and whether it has a logical format. Try breaking it down into smaller, easily digestible chunks without overusing font formatting like italics and bold to navigate your content.

You can even use apps like ChatGPT or Hemingway to offer AI-powered feedback on making the copy reader-friendly.

Cohesive colour schemes

Visuals—particularly colours—are incredibly important when it comes to creating truly inclusive content. Many neurodiverse people have trouble processing colours with high contrast and increased brightness. 

Using pastel shades will make it less overwhelming. This could apply to blog posts, landing pages, app screens, emails, social media posts, and more.

Try using three colours that complement each other on a white background and use the colours you select consistently to reduce any mental burnout.

Using colours that complement each other helps reduce mental burnout and stress

For instance, you can use one colour for your header banner, another for your CTA, and one for your headings to keep it consistent and less confusing.

Format options

When it comes to assets like websites, different formats are always a good idea so that you can make sure that your consumers can view them comfortably.

Include transcription features or audio reading to narrate text and provide audio prompts when your website visitors go through your content so that they know the key points of each page and can even be alerted to CTAs.

You can also offer customisation options to help people change the brightness or contrast of the page or website they’re browsing.

Audio control

One of the key aspects of digital accessibility is to give the user control. Similar to everything else on a website, the freedom to control the audio also needs to be up to the users. There should be a simple and easy way to stop or pause audio that automatically takes more than 3 seconds.

This is largely useful for people who are autistic or find audio-based content challenging—which is about 3.5% of all cases. However, it’s also been a great help for people who use screen readers because the sound doesn’t interfere with what’s being read. A simple solution for this is to have a default function where the audio isn’t played automatically on your website; instead, it would be up to the user to decide whether they want to enable it or not.

Font options

For users with dyslexia, accessible fonts can go a long way in making content more legible and clear. Using fonts like Sans Serif can improve accessibility. The Sans Serif font can be beneficial since it appears less crowded and can rescue the confusion of letters that look similar.

Fonts like Sans Serif make it easier for neurodiverse individuals to read and understand text 

Another way to optimise your fonts is to increase the font size so that it can be easily read. A font size between 16 and 19 is the general recommendation while pairing it with a zoom functionality can also be used.

Additionally, be aware of the space between letters and also the lines to make sure that readability is optimised.

Collaborate with neurodiverse individuals to improve strategies

For digital marketing strategies to work, they need to be borne from the perspectives of neurodivergent individuals as they fully understand what needs to be considered to create truly inclusive content.

While you may have the best intentions to create a neurodiverse-friendly strategy, without the proper perspective or knowledge, you could struggle to make your digital content accessible to everyone.

This is why having a diverse team of individuals can help you create the most accessible content that your internal team also can test and perfect before rolling it out to the population.

Create inclusive digital marketing strategies for neurodiverse audiences

Digital marketing is changing and so do the strategies it uses to reach audiences. It’s no longer limited to geography, gender, or age. Today, digital marketing is transcending these historically considered demographics and is moving towards more inclusive audiences to expand their consumer base.
For marketers who are just getting started or aren’t confident enough to take the necessary steps to make their digital content more accessible, finding the right help to create your digital marketing strategy can make sure that you generate content that’s not only accessible but also inspires others to take action to create a more inclusive digital world where everyone can thrive together.