When visualising data in your marketing content, it’s important to remember that not everyone experiences things the same way as you. A graph you think looks simple enough to understand might be hard to interpret to someone else. And a colour pairing you think looks amazing might be impossible for others to differentiate between.
Failing to adopt this way of thinking is an issue in marketing and design. If you fail to make your data visualisations accessible, not everyone in your audience will be able to understand them. This has a significant effect on audience engagement and loyalty.
There are many ways you can make your graphs and charts more accessible. So put the numbers aside for a moment and read through our advice before getting started.
Ask yourself what story you want your data to tell your audience. How does the information benefit the reader? And most importantly, how easy is the information to understand at first glance?
The answers to these questions will help you to determine the best way to visualise that data. For example, whilst graphs and charts are a great way to compare data or show change over time, infographics are much better for giving an overview of a more data-heavy topic. In some cases, a simple explainer animation may be the very best way of telling your data’s story. For more guidance on how best to visualise your data, check out our recent blog here.
While some elements of accessible design can be measured by a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ – like colour contrast ratios – there are many other elements that can’t, and shouldn’t, be measured that way. WCAG accessibility guidelines aren’t designed as a checklist that can be ticked off so you can walk away thinking the work has been done. Our standard for creating accessible content should be by asking ourselves ‘how can we make this as inclusive and enjoyable as we possibly can for everyone in our audience?’
This was the exact mindset we adopted when creating the Impact Report for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). We created a suite of on brand illustrations to accompany each story and bring the data to life, as you can see in the below eye-catching infographic:
Once you’ve considered the experience through your audience’s eyes and decided on the best format for your data visualisation, it’s time to consider best practice for making your content accessible. Here is where you need to take into account the varying abilities among your audience and compatibility with assistive technologies.
Here’s a list of some important considerations to take into account:
Helping our clients communicate their data in an accessible way one of the things we do best at Eleven. If you’re looking for support with making your data visualisations inclusive, get in touch with us and we’ll be more than happy to help.