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The pandemic has transformed the nature of work across virtually every industry, and publishing is no exception. Like many employers at the beginning of the global health crisis, media companies were quick to pivot to work-from-home arrangements.

As the pandemic progresses, most media organizations are transitioning to a hybrid approach, with teams spending some days in office and others at home, CNBC reports. That echoes broader workforce trends, as 42% of full-time employees in the U.S. reported having a hybrid model as of February, according to Gallup polling.

Because telecommuting is a trend that Gallup and many others expect to continue, tech accessibility should be top of mind for publishers, whose employees rely on software more than ever to stay connected. And since CRM-”short for customer relationship management-”systems are at the heart of a media company’s operations, it’s a good place to begin creating a more inclusive, connected experience.

Here are three ways to improve CRM accessibility.

Speech-to-text (and vice versa)

Tools to convert the spoken word into text are already widely used today. Smartphones translate voice recordings into SMS messages, and services like Otter create transcripts of uploaded audio files. Tech giants like Google and IBM have their own popular tools, while the market for this assistive technology is forecast to swell to $5.8 billion USD by 2027.

Yet not every CRM has speech-to-text capabilities, despite the fact that those with assistive features provide a more accessible user experience. One in six people over the age of 44 has a visual impairment, and many who don’t still find speech-to-text features convenient for hands-free multitasking and workflow efficiency. Adpoint GO, Lineup’s seamless mobile app for its best-in-class Adpoint CRM, boasts built-in voice capabilities so team members can use their voices to capture meeting notes & actions.

Of course, technology is continually improving. As AI gets increasingly sophisticated, expect to see more CRMs that can communicate with users via text-to-speech, too. This is another feature that helps the visually impaired, as well as those with brain-based learning differences such as dyslexia.

Interface design

The right customization options and settings can make software interfaces more inclusive. One example is found right in Adpoint CRM. It gives users a choice of color schemes that have been optimized for those with color vision deficiency, commonly called color blindness.

If you’re wondering what an accessible interface skin looks like, there are a number of common elements. Generally, you should avoid rainbows and the color red, especially when it’s paired with green, according to the science journal Nature. That’s because red-green color blindness is the most prevalent form.

Although gray scale is an accessible option for color blindness, there’s no need to shy away from color. Instead, CRM developers can look to web tools such as Coblis and Color Oracle. These web apps simulate what users with color vision deficiency actually see, so developers can program accessible yet colorful interfaces.

Other design elements that aid accessibility can be as simple as bigger font sizes and minimal graphics, marketing news website ClickZ notes. These help not only with color blindness but also dyslexia, for instance.

The cloud

A cloud-based media sales solution like Adpoint offers unmatched accessibility when compared to CRMs that are only available on-site, such as an application that runs on an office’s intranet. Cloud-based adtech gives employees on-the-go access to the data they need, whenever-”and wherever-”they need it.

A cloud-based CRM with its own mobile app is even better. The Adpoint Go app underscores the benefits of this feature. It has direct access to the Adpoint CRM database, so sales users can close deals, manage orders, and check sales performance-”all from an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.

When accessing a cloud-based CRM from home, just make sure to incorporate increased cybersecurity measures, such as connecting to a virtual private network (VPN). Accessibility and security can go hand in hand. 

Accessibility features empower your teams

The pandemic has been a catalyst for more accessible design, but the need long predates the recent rise in telecommuting. “Covid, in a broader sense, has highlighted the importance of being able to adapt technology you already have to the changing needs of your employees,” says Nita Watkins, CRM Product Manager at Lineup.

Adopting a CRM with accessibility features can establish a more inclusive work environment and empower your advertising sales team. “Employees who can benefit from improved accessibility have always been a part of our teams, and, moving forward, accessibility in tech means that you can ensure that they always will be there,” Watkins adds.

Nita Watkins

Nita has been with Lineup since 2012, and in the media industry for 14 years total. Her career in media began at News UK, where she worked closely with teams across the advertising business. Outside of work, Nita can be found drawing, painting, and experimenting in the kitchen.