6 Ways to Make Your Website Accessible for the Hearing Impaired

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When we think of website accessibility, we often think of visual impairments — after all, websites are a visual medium. However, doing this not only falls short of accessibility standard guidelines, but it also ignores the ever-changing nature of how we design and use websites.

Things like video and video content are increasingly common marketing tools, which can easily pose a barrier for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals when not dealt with correctly. In this article, we will explore the ways in which web designers and companies can make sure that their online content can be enjoyed by those with hearing impairments. 

Aim for All-Round Accessibility

The single easiest way to make sure that your website is accessible for deaf people is to make sure it is accessible by everyone. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, published by the Web Accessibility Initiative, outline the global standards to which all websites should adhere. 

Get to Know Your Captions

If your website or social media platforms feature video content, you need to make sure that it is properly captioned. First, it helps to understand the difference between closed captions and subtitles. Captions provide a description of the whole audio, including things like background music and noises; subtitles are a translation of the dialogue. When thinking of hearing-impaired accessibility, it’s closed captions you want to provide. 

You need to start with a transcript of your audio. While you can write it out yourself, this is a time-consuming task, especially for longer content. There are automated transcription services you can hire for a reasonable fee to do the job for you, and many have quick turnaround times and will provide caption files for you in minutes.

If you have content on YouTube, you may assume that their own automated captions will do the trick. However, YouTube’s captions aren’t always accurate, so you should check and edit them if needed; thankfully, Google provides documentation on how to do this.

Use Simple Language

According to Psychology Today, an aspect of deafness that is often overlooked is that, for many deaf people, English is their second language. ASL is what they primarily use to communicate, and it’s rules are completely different from any written language. When writing website content, keep things simple. Even if you’re not writing for a global audience, write as if you want to be understood by someone whose first language isn’t English. 

Offer Various Communication Channels

Many companies just list a phone number in their “Contact Us” section, which immediately prevents deaf people from contacting them. Offer a range of options, including written ones. According to Business Insider, consumers are moving away from traditional communication channels like the phone in favor of solutions such as chatbots and social media. 

Write Good Social Media Captions

Later.com outlines the keys to a good Instagram caption as a killer first line, a strong “Call to Action,” a consistent brand voice, and add-ons like hashtags, emojis, and line breaks. When it comes to any social media captions for videos, add “context” to that list. In order to be enjoyed by the hard-of-hearing, your caption should engage and entertain, but also provide information on what is actually happening in the video.  

Stay Away from Autoplay

Given the rage it generates in countless users, most companies and web designers should have phased out autoplay audio by now. In fact, major browsers even have defined policies to prevent it, such as Google Chrome blocking non-muted autoplay. However, if you need another reason to not have automatic sounds on your website, consider the deaf user who may not realize they are playing that sound in public. 

As you can see, many of the points above are actually the best practices for web design on the whole. The more accessible a website is, the easier it is to use for everyone. Take the time to make your website and social media accessible for people with hearing impairments, and you will be left with an overall better online presence. 

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Questions Every Woman Should Ask Before Accepting a Higher-Paying Job Offer

Promotions, salary increases, and new jobs usually have a positive impact on our lives. However, switching jobs can bring many hidden expenses. Before you make a significant life decision, consider the unexpected costs, like taxes, health insurance, benefits, retirement, relocation, bonuses, raises, and lifestyle changes. Luckily, with careful planning, you can save your bank account from unnecessary expenses or poor financial choices.

Are you trying to determine whether accepting that new job offer will be a financially-savvy decision? Here are some questions to consider:

Will you be a salaried employee or an hourly contractor?

Salaried workers only get paid for 40 hours per week. Even when they work more hours, there’s no overtime pay.

However, if your job includes extra benefits, raises, and annual bonuses, those perks might make up for extended shifts. Although contractors are paid for every hour worked, they’re responsible for paying their own taxes each quarter, rather than filing annually. If you forget to file taxes frequently enough or fail to put back enough money to pay the IRS, you can expect to owe a large sum come tax season.

Will your tax bracket change?

Higher-paying jobs can increase your tax bracket, meaning the government keeps more of your income. According to finance writer, Dan Caplinger, “self-employment tax is usually roughly twice what you’d see if you were an employee.” To determine whether that’s worth it, consider your unique financial situation and remember that tax laws frequently change. This year, a new tax law decreased tax refunds for most American workers, especially freelancers and contractors. If you’re unsure of local regulations, ask an accountant before accepting any job offers. That way, you’ll feel more confident about your decision.

What will your net pay be?

Job descriptions, interviews, and paperwork typically report salaries as gross income, the amount you make before taxes. Your take-home pay after taxes, or your net income, will be less. Net pay depends on factors like your location and tax bracket. That shiny gross income amount may not be worthwhile if you ultimately make less money than you currently make. Before accepting the job, save yourself some headaches by asking an accountant.

Is the pay transparent?

These days, many companies are moving toward transparent payscale policies. However, transparency eliminates your ability to negotiate salaries, limits future raises, and can even reduce morale. Ensure your new pay is high enough to compensate for any downsides.

What’s the dress code?

Whether you’re changing industries or moving into a higher-level management position, you may need to budget for a new wardrobe. Luckily, there are many budget-friendly options when it comes to work attire. Rather than buying expensive, trendy items, opt for simple, timeless pieces that can be easily paired together without going out of style. Popular clothing stores like Ann Taylor Loft or New York & Company have great prices on business wear and frequently have sales; you can even combine sale items with online coupons to increase your savings.

With some savvy shopping, you can bump up your wardrobe without blowing your new paycheck.

Will you be happier?

Keep in mind your career isn’t just about the money. If that higher-paying job will stress you to the point of becoming ill, it might end up costing you more than your new salary is worth. Besides, extra benefits like free childcare, college tuition reimbursements, flexible schedules, hefty bonuses, and the ability to work from home can make up for lower salaries.

It’s okay to ask for a few days to think about a job offer. Any decent company will give you time to consider your options rather than rushing you into a decision. Sites like InHerSight or Fairygodboss let women compare company benefits and work environments at a glance. By comparing the pros and cons of your new job versus your current one, you’ll feel confident you’ve made the best possible decision for yourself, your bank account, and your long-term future.

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