In today's world, it's more important than ever to create content that is inclusive and accessible to people with different disabilities, including vision, hearing, and motor impairments. That means ensuring your site and your content are compliant.
But let's be real – accessibility can be a daunting topic, especially if you're not sure where to start. But if you need a web accessibility consultant, we're here to help!
In this blog post, we'll break down the basics of creating accessible content in a way that's easy to understand and implement. Whether you're a blogger, marketer, or website owner, we've got you covered with practical tips and resources that you can use to make your content more inclusive and welcoming to all users. Let's dive in!
What exactly is accessibility and why does it matter? Simply put, accessibility means creating content that can be accessed and used by people with disabilities. This includes people with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive impairments, as well as those with temporary disabilities like a broken arm or a temporary loss of vision.
Creating accessible content is not only the right thing to do, but it also benefits both content creators and users. For creators, it expands their audience and improves the usability and quality of their content. For users, it provides a more inclusive online experience and ensures that they can access information and services without any barriers.
Tips for Creating Accessible Content
Creating accessible content is easy to overlook and might feel overwhelming at first, but with a few extra steps and implementing and best practices, it's actually easier than you might think. With a bit of practice, it will become second nature and easy to incorporate into your publishing workflow.
Here are some hands-on tips to help you get started:
- Use clear and descriptive headings: Are your headings logical and meaningful? Do they describe the content that follows? Rewriting headlines is a quick-and-easy fix that not only helps users with screen readers to navigate your content more easily, but it also makes it easier for everyone to scan and understand your content.
- Use alternative text for images: Alternative text, also known as alt text, is a description of an image that appears in place of the image if it cannot be displayed. This is important for users with visual impairments who rely on screen readers to navigate your content. Content management systems like Drupal will often require a user to provide alt text when an image is uploaded.
- Use descriptive link text: Instead of using language like "click here" or "read more", descriptive text tells users where the link leads. This makes it easier for all users to understand the purpose of the link and its destination.
- Provide captions and transcripts for videos: Captions and transcripts make your videos accessible to people with hearing impairments and those who are watching without sound. They also make it easier for everyone to search and find specific information within your video. There are many services that provide this for free and make it easy to implement.
- Ensure color contrast: We all love our brand colors, but sometimes colors that look cool are hard for some users to see. Use high contrast between text and background colors to make your content more readable for users with visual impairments. (Personally, my astigmatism makes the trending “dark mode”—white text on a dark background—hard to read.) A contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 is recommended for most text.
- Use descriptive page titles: Descriptive and meaningful page titles help users accurately reflect the content on the page. This helps users understand where they are on your site and what content they can expect to find.
- Make forms accessible: Ensure that your forms are easy to navigate and use with a keyboard alone, as well as with a mouse. Form labels must be descriptive and clear, and include error messages and helpful hints where necessary.
- Provide keyboard accessibility: Click on your website then the
tabkey and see what happens. You should be able to navigate around from element to element in a logical way. For users who can’t use a mouse, the ability to navigate using a keyboard only is critical.
By taking the time to create accessible content, you're not only improving the user experience for people with disabilities, but you're also creating content that is more user-friendly for all users.
Creating accessible content is an ongoing process that starts with a change of perspective, a site audit to fix big changes, and then develops into a culture as more content is published.
If you're feeling overwhelmed or unsure of where to start, we can consult with you on the accessibility of your website. As accessibility consultants, we audit your site, fix accessibility issues, and help you develop an accessibility plan for your ongoing content. Contact us to get started.