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Accessibility Online & Gen Z: Why Making Your Website Accessible Matters

Being accessible online is vital in creating cohesion between you and your customer. The internet and its online space may be the only form of interaction with your audience and it’s crucial that everyone has an equally brilliant user experience - regardless of the language they speak or any disabilities they might have.

Guest blog - Accessibility Online & Gen Z: Why Making Your Website Accessible Matters

Focusing on Generation Z (Gen Z) in particular, this consumer base is massively shaping the future of the economic world, and in this they’ll be the first to point out when a brand isn’t being authentic. According to research carried out by Campaign (2022) the key digital takeaway for 2022 is that those companies that marry purpose and authentic values with ease and accessibility (and ideally inspiration) will continue to thrive.

It’s 2022. If you’re not providing accessible features such as Recite Me, then you bet someone else is. This could be the ultimate decision for a consumer, between choosing you, or a competitor. Take a leaf out of our book and make these quick and simple changes to improve your business now and listen to your target audience!

What Is Accessibility And Why Do We Need It?

When we break down the meaning of ‘Accessibility’, we focus on the website tools available to create a universal online space. Long gone are the days where face-to-face interaction was a brands’ only form of purchase, the internet has brought another dimension into the customer journey and it’s important that brands adapt.

As we move forward to becoming an inclusive society, we recognise the importance of everyone having equal access to website content. Every user who roams the internet deserves to have customisable touchpoints to enhance their user experience, and by using a web accessibility tool, this can be achieved.

Businesses need to view accessibility online software as a human necessity rather than an added extra. It’s a means of providing equal online access for anyone around the world - so who exactly does it help?

Disabilities And Accessibility

Did you know that at least 15% of the world’s population have a recognised disability? In figures, that’s over one billion people, and accessing the internet is one of the many barriers they face during their day-to-day lives.

Those who are most susceptible to these barriers are people who struggle with:

  • Decreased vision
  • Learning difficulties
  • Literacy
  • Language/linguistic problems
  • Attention disorders
  • Physical disabilities

By not meeting their needs as a company and providing the assisted technology they need, you’re failing to provide inclusivity and are isolating people with disabilities. It’s also worth mentioning that this is something Gen Z will not take lightly.

Who Are Generation Z?

According to Student Voices, Gen Z can be defined as the group of individuals born after 1995, however this date varies from source to source. To generalise for these purposes, it is the individuals who were born in the late 1990s and early 2010s. They’re the first generation to not know a life without the internet which has led to them being extremely tech-savvy.

When it comes to trends, Gen Z expects a lot from brands digitally, with 43% demanding an online experience that is easy to navigate and 36% needing a seamless checkout with multiple payment options. They find it difficult to be loyal to companies who aren’t authentic and are moving towards a feeling of inclusivity and cultural identity. Aligning these expectations together, you can start to paint a picture of what your brand needs to do in order to unlock the trust of Gen Z’ers.

Our Success Story With Recite Me

Homes for students website with the Recite Me toolbar launchedFor a bit of background information, Homes For Students is one of the UK’s leading providers of student accommodation. Offering over 32,000 beds and counting, we are growing at an exponential rate, and our online presence has been pivotal in this advancement. Our target demographic is, in summary, potential and returning students looking to book a place to stay near their university of choice, with the majority making up Gen Z.

We installed Recite Me on the Homes For Students in April 2021, and have not looked back since. This versatile toolbar has given us a world of possibilities, all within one webpage, and allows us to reach web users we may not have been able to before. At a touch of a button, the Recite Me service can be launched, providing a text to speech function, fully customisable styling features, reading support aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and many other features.

How Has This Benefited Us?

There are so many ways that using Recite Me has benefitted us as a company. Here are a few below:

  • Within our market, the ability to change the language feature has allowed us to reach those whose native language might not be English, e.g., international students and parents.
  • Most website content on our platform is text based and Recite Me allows those who may struggle sight or reading to have the information read out loud to them.
  • The colour wheel feature gives students with colour blindness an opportunity to change the theme to suit their preferences.
  • We have been able to connect with a larger percentage of our target demographic, offering accessible ways for students to digest information and aid the booking process.
  • Has allowed us to demonstrate our stance on diversity and inclusion, showing how we’re making changes to do better for the wider good.
  • From an employee perspective, it has improved the quality of working for us by giving the ability to switch content to their preferred language and adjust font and style to help make their job easier.

In summary, installing and setting up Recite Me has been a huge achievement for us at Homes For Students. It’s been a milestone in our journey as it has physically allowed us to synergise our values with our website