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Articles | Accessibility
Our articles cover a range of topics on writing for the web. Accessibility is a common focus because not a lot is written on the topic from a writer’s point of view.
This summary is for web content managers, editors and writers. It's limited to level A and AA guidelines relevant to content production.
Have you been advised to replace PDF documents with Word, because Word is more accessible?
Do you know how to make your social media posts accessible? In this article, we discuss ways to reduce accessibility barriers when writing posts, sharing links, and posting images and video.
Long descriptions are text alternatives for complex or detailed images. In this article we look at some examples: charts and graphs, maps and plans, infographics, diagrams and technical drawings.
In this article, we look at the role of long descriptions for images. Why you need them and how to implement them.
Here are 3 free tools that are simple to use. They'll help you write better content for your organisation's website, intranet or blog.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day aims to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility. To mark the occasion we created a set of haiku for web writers, based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Accessibility guidelines require us to let assistive technologies ignore 'purely decorative' images. Sounds simple enough, but sometimes it's hard to decide when an image is purely decorative. In this article we argue that blank text alternatives are often best.
Some organisations publish large amounts of their online content as PDF documents. But PDF is rarely chosen because it's been assessed as the best format for the content. In this article we discuss ways to reduce reliance on PDF.
We need a text alternative for informative or functional images. But what should we do when the image also needs a caption? In this article we discuss the options.
If you want to write better web content, here's an A-Z that should help. It covers attributes of quality content and other issues web writers should be aware of.
A CMS can create problems for your content if you let it generate file names or text alternatives for images. This article discusses system behaviour to watch out for.
Good writing is good writing, regardless of the medium. So what makes writing for the web different to writing for print? In this article, we discuss one key difference — technical knowledge.
Use icons, and particularly their text alternatives, consistently throughout your content.
Provide a pronunciation for words that are spelt the same, but mean different things when pronounced in different ways.
The accessibility guidelines require grade 9 readability for content. Otherwise we should provide supplementary content (visuals, for example), or an easy-to-read summary.
The accessibility guidelines require we expand or define any abbreviations in our content. Often it's even better to avoid using abbreviations, especially acronyms and initialisms.
The accessibility guidelines require that we explain or define any jargon, idioms or unusual words in our content. Often it's even better to avoid using those words.
If you use foreign language words or phrases in your content, you need to identify the foreign language using the lang attribute.
Use headings to organise the sections or topics within an article or document. Headings break content into more manageable chunks, making a page or topic easier to understand.
Write descriptive headings, sub-headings and labels. This will help users understand what your content is about, decide if it is relevant and go directly to the information they are looking for.
Write links that clearly describe their purpose or content. Meaningful links are vital for making content more accessible to people with disabilities.
Write a descriptive title for your web pages and any documents you publish online. You'll help people find your content if your title is meaningful to them.
Avoid opening links in new windows. If you must, include a warning within the link.
Use styled text rather than an image of text wherever it's technically possible. An image of text is allowed when users can customise the text style or an image is essential.
Use colours that offer a sufficient contrast ratio between text and background colours, unless the text is decorative, incidental or part of a logo.
Don't use images that flash more than three times per second unless the colours are dim enough to reduce the likelihood of causing a seizure.
Don't use colour alone to convey information because not everyone has normal colour vision. For most web writers, this means being careful about choosing images. But you may also need to be careful about applying colour to text.
Don't write instructions that rely on things that can only be seen (shape, size, screen location, orientation) or heard. If you do, some of your users won't be able to follow your instructions.
Use HTML tags to identify certain types of information and show content structure. For instance, use heading tags for heading. In this article, we outline the HTML tags web writers need to know how to use.
When writing text alternatives for images you need to consider the role of the image and the context in which it is used.
To help you write better text alternatives for images, our decision tree asks three main questions. It guides you in choosing a short, long or blank text alternative.
Text alternatives are one of the most basic requirements for accessibility, but also one of the most misunderstood.
Introduction to a 19-part series on accessibility for web writers, based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.
Images of maps need a text alternative. This article discusses how to write text alternatives for simple and complex images of maps.
With the likely adoption of WCAG 2.0 (the second version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) in Australia, organisations might be reviewing their website design and templates to meet the new standards in 2010. What they might forget though, is to check their content or update the skills of those who produce it.
The new accessibility guidelines are disappointing. They do little to foster quality content. They seem weaker on content standards than the earlier version.