Accessibility is a topic that needs more attention, care, and action. As wedding and event pros, it’s our job to reach our clients and make their experience the very best. Learn more about accessibility and neurodiversity in this Q&A with Myrna Daramy.
Myrna Daramy is a Marketing Technology Strategist and the founder of Myrna & Co, a business coaching firm specializing in digital media optimization, data analytics, and ADA Compliance. Known as a master connector, Myrna has educated thousands of professionals and transformed countless wedding industry brands by combining her expertise in consumer behavior, digital analytics, technology management, and SEO.
"The neurodiversity movement advocates the idea that our brains are different and that everyone (whether neurotypical or neurodivergent) should be treated equally by individuals, the workplace and external environments. The self-identifying label of “neurodivergent” originally focused on those who are autistic. However, in more recent years it has been used to describe those who think, behave, and learn differently to what is typical in society. Being neurodivergent should not be considered an inherent deficit but simply a difference in processing the world around us."
- Neurodiversity is a viewpoint that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits.
- The concept of neurodiversity can have benefits for people with learning and thinking differences.
- This concept can help reduce stigma around learning and thinking differences.
- Types: ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia etc.
1. How should event professionals approach accessibility in general? Why is it important?
In the bridal industry, we are inundated with a push to be diverse and inclusive. As we're working toward becoming more diverse, take it one step further and be inclusive of all in digital landscapes as well. In the United States, 25% of people need more accessibility. If it’s something you value then you should do it. Disabled and neurodiverse people are a demographic that has historically and often been ignored and not taken into account. Especially with the pandemic, we have seen that technology has kept us all connected. Tech is how we establish communities. It became that vehicle so why not make it accessible to all.
2. What are some basic tips to make a website more accessible?
Accessibility: I always think about how to make the content that I make available and received in many ways. When you think of imagery, especially in an image-rich community, you must give your audience options for how they can receive the content you want them to connect with. Always provide context. Accessibility and SEO go hand in hand. Adding alternative texts and transcribing the content you’ve uploaded makes it available to all. Go to the fundamentals of when you’re putting content on your website. Are there ways to include alternative text, captions, images, and videos?
Font: If your brand is muted, be more cognizant of having contrast. The contrast between text and background is crucial. I recommend doing readability tests and if for any reason you’re doubting its readability, it means it’s probably not accessible. Typography should never be overly scripted and illegible to understand. Regular font is easier for assistive technologies and easier for people to read.
Color: In regard to colors, blush and pink are not the best. Yes, they’re cute, but they’re not accessible. Choose colors that have high contrast with each other. This will really help someone with any vision/color disability.
3. What should pros specifically think about when making their website more accessible to neurodiverse people?
Accessibility for neurodiverse people is fairly new and needs continual growth. It's important to incorporate the invisible disabilities that are not seen. There are so many of them. Spend time educating yourself. Make your website clean. Don’t over clutter, and don’t overstimulate. Keep it organized and methodical. Left to write. Top to bottom.
Make sure your videos have the ability to stop/pause. Start and stop could be very triggering for neurodiverse people. Make sure your audience is able to turn on and off dark mode.
Aside from being methodical with the layout of your website, have clear navigation, sections, and calls to action. Avoid “click here.” Be as concise and clear as possible.
4. Do you include the voices and perspectives of disabled and neurodiverse people in your creation of ADA compliance workshops?
I use Club House to meet people in the disabled and neurodiverse communities to educate myself on their experiences. Their experiences are what's most important and what we should be listening to. I saw how they’ve been completely erased. I learned so much by simply having conversations and listening. I learned about what it means to be inclusive in a digital space. I experienced using Otter.ai transcription and it was so eye-opening. I noticed how I had so many pronunciation issues. I learned about the experience of enunciating and speaking clearly at a moderate pace.
Interested in learning more about accessibility? Myrna’s workshop, Inclusion in Digital Spaces, is coming out soon, check out https://www.myrnadaramy.com/ for more information.
Hero photo courtesy of Rebecca Marie Photography