Introduction

Basic Web Accessibility for Content Writers

This training provides an overview of accessibility considerations for people who contribute content and documents to web sites, but who do not actually design the web sites themselves.

Summary

The goal is to make content accessible as it is created, and that means you need to keep in mind many things, including making all information available in text form, whether alternative text for images, descriptions of charts or graphs, or closed captioning or text transcripts for videos. Users with low vision or color-blindness need high contrast colors for optimal viewing, and if color is used to convey information, it is important for the benefit of all users to have equivalent information available in written text to avoid confusion. Avoid using fancy fonts with a lot of embellishments, which make text harder to read. When using tables to display data, designate the header cells, and assign them a scope (row or column) so that screen readers can associate the data cells with the appropriate header cells as they read them aloud.

The most accessible format is HTML, but Microsoft Word documents and PDF files also have good accessibility features. If you are going to convert a Word document to PDF, it is helpful to apply all of the available accessibility features in Word before converting the file. Use the automated accessibility testing tools featured in Word, PowerPoint, Acrobat Pro, as well as those in browsers and those available online for web pages, to find about a third of the potential accessibility problems in your content.

It is more efficient to design content to be accessible than to make the content accessible after you've created it. Also, as you become familiar with the process of creating accessible content, addressing accessibility concerns from the beginning will become easier to do.

Tips & Tricks

Simplicity

  • Clarify by reducing to its essence
  • Eliminate unnecessary words and sections
  • Use common words and phrases
  • Avoid slang and informal jargon
  • Use direct commands where appropriate
  • Use active phrases, rather than passive phrases
  • Simplify Processes

Understandable Text

Supplemental Formats

  • Supplement plain text with additional media formats

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