5 Rules for Publishing Accessible Content

Creating a web site that’s fully accessible to disabled users is typically a collaborative effort. You can hire the best groups of designers and programmers, but if you do not offer content that is written with access as a priority, it is still possible to end up with major obstacles.

A website is made up of two important components: the structure and the material. If the site does not have an available structure, users might not get to your content. But if it does not have accessible articles , then disabled people will not have the ability to use it.

As a writer, you can not make sure that each and every part of the content is perfectly accessible. However, you can apply the following five principles as a starting point.

Write Compelling Link Text

Having links with text which comprises a clear call to action and key words that indicate what the page is all about is beneficial to all users. But descriptive link text is crucial for many users with disabilities.

Screen reader users can browse your website by creating a list of hyperlinks on the page. If these links contain text which informs users what that connection will do, they could jump straight to the target link with that list of hyperlinks. But if these links become a set of empty phrases such as”click here,””read more,” or”continue,” that advantage is lost. It will take more searching for people on screen readers to find out which link they would like to follow.

Links can be meaningful but still be debatable. If you use a raw URL as a link, then the screen reader will describe the URL out to your visitor. This is not overwhelming with a URL such as http://www.example.com/about-us/.

But intricate URLs such as http://example.com/docID/15849273/?param=download&session=jH97hh02ed are difficult for a screen reader user, who will fight to get any useful information from the linked text.

But if these links become a set of empty phrases such as”click here,””read more,” or”continue,” that advantage is lost.

Be Careful with Directional Language

When you think creatively in your text, then it’s easy to direct visitors to the connection”on the right” or to the form”on the left” After all, you are sitting at your desk, you have a look at your website, and there it is, on the left.

But that could be meaningless to someone visiting your website. A guest on a smartphone is most likely seeing a compact version of your website, reduced to one column. Where is that form today? Furthermore, a user with a screen reader will not have any meaningful reference for right and left.

A reactive view and a screen reader have one element in common: the content on the page is usually linear, and left and right have less circumstance. A reactive view may only be partly linear, but a screen reader is going to absorb material in the order it was composed, from top to bottom.

Using directional language also creates issues when making minor changes on your website. If you change your site from using a sidebar on the right to getting it on the left, your articles would be wrong.

You can usually get away with vertically oriented instructions, stating that a source is above or below the current position. But even that could get you into trouble if you make changes to the website if you are referring to something beyond the content you have written. Providing links that lead directly to this page is one way to assist, as is using more general references, such as”from the sidebar” or”from the footer.”

Avoid Making References with Colour

Color should never the only way to differentiate between two items. That does not mean that you can not use colour, and it does not imply that you can not differentiate between items using colour. It absolutely can not be the only way. After writing, prevent labeling things purely with colour.

By way of instance, you can say”Click on the red button” if there is just 1 button. However, if there are both green and red buttons on the page, that sentence will lead to difficulties. If that’s the case, ensure there’s some other gap, such as”Click on the button labeled’Stop’.”

Color should never the only way to differentiate between two items.

Organize Your Writing

Use three structures on your writing: paragraphs, lists, and headings. These three attributes will make it simpler for users on screen readers and for individuals with learning impairments to absorb your content.

Paragraphs should be short. The more the block of text, the tougher the info is going to be to understand.

Use lists when you’ve got a string of single items in a group. Rather than using a complex sentence with semicolons, divide that sentence into a listing. This divides the formatting of your content also helps focus attention on these essential pieces of information.

Organize your paragraphs and lists under topical headings. In a short record, you will likely need only a single heading. On a longer record, use headings to group related subjects. Headings enable all users to quickly scan what subjects are covered — and allow screen reader users to jump from section to section as they hunt for the info. In that manner, screen reader users can also scan the content.

Provide Alternative Text

If you are providing images in an article, also include alternative text for all those pictures. It is a cliché that a picture is worth 1,000 words. But to a blind person, a picture is worth no words in case you have not provided an explanation, in text.

It is a very rare case to provide 1,000 words of text for an image. Generally speaking, think of text as like a tweet — roughly 140 characters of alternative text is the perfect amount of information. The alternate text for easy text images should not include over the text on the picture; however a complex or emotionally significant picture may require a more detailed description.

When you are a part of a large publishing environment, like an electronic magazine or paper, or for product descriptions on a large ecommerce website, there are typically many phases involved in moving from a first draft into a published piece. Taking charge of accessibility things from the start will always work .