Creating Accessible Content

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It is important for your website to be accessible to everyone, regardless of abilities. Not only is this important for compliance purposes, but creating accessible experiences ensures your engagement strategy has every constituent covered. As admin who creates content for your site, there are several areas where you can have a big impact in the accessibility of your content and forms. 

Links

Recommendation

Links need to be descriptive and indicate what the link will do or provide. For example, instead of hyperlinked text of "click here", you could use "Download as a PDF" which better describes where the link will take them or what action it will trigger.

Why it's Important

Users of assistive technology employ a number of different methods to navigate and interact with digital media. Most screen readers for example have built in features that allow users to review and navigate to just the links on the page, but no other content. When navigating this way, generic text such as "Click Here" could potentially be listed out multiple times when navigating by links, limiting the effectiveness of assistive technology to provide an equivalent alternative experience. 

Alternative Text for Images

Recommendation

Image alternative text, or alt text, is a required element in some areas of Encompass and an optional element in others. For accessibility, if an image contributes to the context of the content on a page then alt text should always be added. If the image is just used for visual aesthetics and doesn't contribute to the content than alt text may not be necessary. 

Knowing what to use for alternative text is just as important as remembering to use it. The alternative text should describe what is occurring in the image and how it relates to the content on the page. The alternative text should not just be the title of the image. For example, "Alumni touring campus during 2018 reunion visit" is more descriptive than "Reunion 2018". 

Why it's Important

Without quality alternative text, users with blindness or low vision would not receive the same value from images that contribute to the purpose and content on a page, resulting in an experience that is not an equivalent alternative to sited users.

Paragraph Styles

Recommendation

When applying your paragraph styles to page content, you need to think of your page content as an outline. Your page title is usually going to be an H1. The next paragraph style you should use on your page would be an H2. You shouldn't move from an H1 to and H3 and skip H2 completely. Unfortunately this can be a common practice of some admins because they view the header structure only as a way to apply a particular style. It is acceptable to move from H1 to H2 to H3 and then back to H2 if the content on your page would follow this kind of outline structure.

Why it's Important

Users of assistive technology employ a number of different methods to navigate and interact with digital media. Most screen readers for example have built in features that allow users to review and navigate to just the headers on the page, but no other content. Not only is this method of navigation very common, but it is a critical tool for a user to familiarize themselves with the structure of a page and its related content. By being able to first review a list of all of the headers on the page, assistive technology users have a valuable short-cut to reading all of the content of the page in order to find information that is pertinent to them.

 

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