Thinking About Accessibility of Your Content

Recently WordCamp, Portland, ME had a great Accessibility Panel with Jesse Friedman, Peter Jewett, John Brandt. The panel discussed meeting accessibility standards, what it took and why it was important. They also brought up the point that “no one is disabled, we are all just temporarily abled“. What you can do today you might not be able to in the future, it’s important to have an understanding and compassion for users and their abilities.

Recently the UK government released a series of posters outlining general guidelines of the dos and don’ts of designing for accessibility on the web. These rules can apply to maintaining and creating content. Below we will review a few and cover how they are useful when creating content.

Write in plain English.

Keeping your content simple. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines suggests trying to write for a middle school or junior high school reading level. This is only a guideline and you should consider your audience. For a younger audience or more technical subject, you should adjust for the reading level of your users.

Write descriptive links and headers.

Creating descriptive links and headers provide users with the context of where the link and content will lead them. This is necessary for screen readers to help them navigate websites. By keeping content clear and direct, users will stay on the site longer and more easily find what they need.

Break up content with subheadings, images, and videos.

Keep content short, clear and simple; this keeps users engaged and from getting overwhelmed. Using visual elements helps break up the walls of text and keep the user moving down the page. This can make the content less daunting and easier to understand. A little can go a long way, use these sparingly and have a clear relation to the content.

Of the tips mentioned these are only a few. All of them can help improve your site’s content accessibility, user’s experience, and SEO. Please take a look and download the posters, and maybe even hang them in your office. This will help incorporate these practices into creating content.