Market research aims to collect data that will lead to better business decisions and provide better products or services for end users. As we’ve seen in recent years, technology has made it easier for more people to participate in market research than ever before. Mobile surveys and virtual video interviews are standard practices in 2023. However, this increased access brings new challenges: how do researchers ensure their surveys are accessible to all? In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of accessibility in research and how marketers can design projects inclusively. 

The Role Of Accessibility In Market Research

The role of accessibility in market research is critical in ensuring that research studies and surveys are designed and executed in an inclusive way for all individuals, regardless of their abilities. Accessibility is an essential consideration in market research because it ensures that all individuals have an equal opportunity to participate in research studies and share their unique perspectives. Furthermore, considering the World Health Organization found that globally, 15% of the population lives with a disability, ignoring accessibility in research is simply bad for business. 

Accessibility applies to individuals with a range of disabilities, such as those who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, or have mobility impairments. Accessibility in market research can take many forms, such as providing alternative formats for survey questions, using captions or transcripts for audio or video content, or ensuring that survey platforms are navigable with assistive technology. 

By implementing these accessibility measures, researchers can remove barriers to participation and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. This promotes inclusivity and diversity and increases the validity and reliability of research findings by providing a more representative sample of participants. 

Tips For Improving Accessibility In Market Research

Accessible Design 

Improving accessibility in market research involves more than just recognizing the importance of inclusion. It requires concrete steps to ensure that research studies are accessible to various individuals. One way to achieve this is by using accessible design and formatting in surveys and other research materials. This can include providing sufficient contrast between text and background colors, using readable font sizes and styles, and structuring questions clearly and concisely. 

Various Formats

Additionally, offering multiple methods for participating in research, such as online and phone options, can increase accessibility for individuals who may not have access to a computer or who may have difficulty using certain technologies.

This approach can help remove barriers to participation and ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to share their perspectives and insights. Additionally, offering multiple participation methods can help researchers capture a more diverse range of participant feedback and views, leading to more accurate and reliable research findings.

Assistive Technologies

Another critical component of accessibility in market research is the use of assistive technologies and services. For example, providing captioning or audio descriptions for video content can make it more accessible to individuals who are deaf or blind. 

Similarly, using screen readers or other assistive technologies can make online surveys more accessible for individuals with visual impairments. 

Consider Language Barriers

In addition, it’s important to consider language barriers and cultural differences when designing research studies. This may involve translating survey materials or hiring bilingual researchers to interview individuals with limited English proficiency. 

By implementing these tips and best practices, researchers can ensure that their studies are more accessible and inclusive for a broader range of participants.

Market Research Inclusion In Practice

There was a well-known consumer goods brand that wanted to conduct focus groups to understand the needs of its customers better. However, they were concerned that traditional in-person focus groups might not be accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities. To address this concern, they used assistive technologies to make their focus groups more accessible.

The brand worked with a research firm specializing in accessibility and disability issues to develop a plan for the focus groups. They decided to hold the focus groups online, using video conferencing software compatible with screen readers and other assistive technologies. They also provided closed captioning for participants who were deaf or hard of hearing, and ensured that the software they used was accessible to individuals with mobility impairments.

When the focus groups began, the brand was thrilled with the results. They gathered feedback and insights from a wide range of individuals, including those with disabilities, who might not have been able to participate in traditional in-person focus groups. They found that their assistive technologies helped remove barriers to participation and allowed everyone to engage in the research process fully.

As a result of this experience, the brand began incorporating accessibility into all of its market research efforts. They recognized that accessibility was not only the right thing to do but also a wise business decision that allowed them to better understand and serve the needs of all their customers. In the end, the brand’s commitment to accessibility helped them to build stronger relationships with their customers and improve their products and services for everyone.

Bottom Line

Ensuring accessibility in market research is crucial for designing and executing research studies and surveys that include all individuals, regardless of their abilities. Accessibility is critical in ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in research studies and contribute their valuable perspectives.  By prioritizing accessibility in market research, researchers can remove barriers to participation and create a more diverse and representative sample of participants.  Ultimately, accessibility is an essential consideration in market research that enables researchers to fully understand customer needs and preferences and create more equitable research environments that benefit everyone involved.

83% of marketers say their company is doing more to provide accessibility in digital marketing than in the past. Check out our ebook Incorporating DE&I Into Market Research, to weave diversity into your market research strategy.