5 Rules for Publishing Accessible Content

5 Rules for Publishing Accessible Content

July 27, 2016 1:59 pm

Creating a website that’s absolutely accessible to customers with disabilities is usually a collaborative effort. You can rent the most effective groups of designers and builders, however when you don’t present content material that’s written with accessibility as a precedence, you'll be able to nonetheless find yourself with main obstacles.

A website consists of two key parts: the construction and the content material. If the location doesn’t have an accessible construction, customers might not get to your content material. But if it doesn’t have accessible content material, then disabled guests gained’t have the ability to use it.

As a author, you'll be able to’t be sure that each a part of the content material is completely accessible. But you possibly can apply the next 5 guidelines as a place to begin.

Write Compelling Link Text

Having hyperlinks with textual content that incorporates a transparent name to motion and key phrases that point out what the linked web page is about is useful to all customers. But descriptive hyperlink textual content is essential for a lot of customers with disabilities.

Screen reader customers can navigate your website by producing an inventory of hyperlinks on the web page. If these hyperlinks include textual content that tells customers what that hyperlink will do, they will leap on to the goal hyperlink utilizing that listing of hyperlinks. However, if these hyperlinks find yourself as a collection of empty phrases like “click on right here,” “learn extra,” or “proceed,” that profit is misplaced. It will take considerably extra looking for guests on display readers to determine which hyperlink they need to comply with.

Thus, combine your hyperlinks into the context of a sentence, when attainable. For instance, as an alternative of “Read our gross sales insurance policies right here“, use “Read our gross sales insurance policies.

Links might be significant however nonetheless be problematic. If you employ a uncooked URL as a hyperlink, then the display reader will spell the URL out to your customer. This isn’t overwhelming with a URL like http://www.instance.com/about-us/.

But complicated URLs like http://instance.com/docID/15849273/?param=obtain&session=jH97hh02ed are troublesome for a display reader consumer, who will wrestle to get any helpful info out of the linked textual content.

However, if these hyperlinks find yourself as a collection of empty phrases like “click on right here,” “learn extra,” or “proceed,” that profit is misplaced.

Be Careful with Directional Language

When you assume visually in your textual content, it’s straightforward to direct individuals to the hyperlink “on the correct” or to the shape “on the left.” After all, you’re sitting at your desk, you take a look at your website, and there it's, on the left.

But that could be meaningless to someone visiting your website. A customer on a smartphone might be seeing a streamlined model of your website, lowered to a single column. Where is that type now? Moreover, a consumer with a display reader gained’t have any significant reference for left and proper.

A responsive view and a display reader have one factor in widespread: the content material on the web page is usually linear, and left and proper have considerably much less context. A responsive view might solely be partially linear, however a display reader is all the time going to soak up content material within the order it was written, from prime to backside.

Using directional language additionally creates points when making minor modifications in your website. If you turn your website from having a sidebar on the best to having it on the left, your content material can be improper.

You can often get away with vertically oriented instructions, stating that a useful resource is above or under the present place. But even that may get you into hassle if you make modifications to the location should you’re referring to one thing outdoors of the content material you’ve written. Providing hyperlinks that lead on to that web page is a method to assist, as is utilizing extra common references, reminiscent of “within the sidebar” or “within the footer.”

Avoid Making References with Color

Color ought to by no means the one strategy to distinguish between two gadgets. That doesn’t imply that you would be able to’t use colour, and it doesn’t imply which you can’t differentiate between gadgets utilizing shade. It simply can’t be the solely approach. When writing, keep away from labeling issues purely with colour.

For instance, you'll be able to say “Click on the pink button” if there’s just one button. But if there are each pink and inexperienced buttons on the web page, that sentence will trigger issues. In that case, make it possible for there’s another distinction, similar to “Click on the button labeled ‘Stop’.”

Color ought to by no means the one option to distinguish between two gadgets.

Organize Your Writing

Use three buildings in your writing: paragraphs, lists, and headings. These three options will make it vastly simpler for customers on display readers and for individuals with studying impairments to soak up your content material.

Paragraphs must be brief. The longer the block of textual content, the more durable the knowledge will probably be to know.

Use lists when you will have a collection of single gadgets in a gaggle. Instead of utilizing a posh sentence with semicolons, cut up that sentence into an inventory. This breaks up the formatting of your content material and helps focus consideration on these key items of data.

Organize your lists and paragraphs beneath topical headings. In a brief doc, you’ll probably want only a single heading. On an extended doc, use headings to group associated subjects. Headings permit all customers to shortly scan what subjects are coated — and permit display reader customers to leap from part to part as they seek for the knowledge. In that approach, display reader customers also can scan the content material.

Provide Alternative Text

If you’re supplying pictures in an article, additionally embrace various textual content for these photographs. It’s a cliché that a picture is value M,000 phrases. But to a blind consumer, a picture is value no phrases when you haven’t offered an evidence, in textual content.

It’s a particularly uncommon case to provide M,000 phrases of other textual content for a picture. In basic, consider various textual content as just like a tweet — about one hundred forty characters of other textual content is the correct quantity of data. The various textual content for easy textual content photographs shouldn’t embrace greater than the textual content on the picture; however a posh or emotionally vital picture might require a extra detailed description.

When you’re half of a giant publishing setting, reminiscent of an digital journal or newspaper, or for product descriptions on a big ecommerce website, there are sometimes many levels concerned in shifting from an preliminary draft to a printed piece. Taking cost of accessibility issues from the start will all the time work higher.


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