In making the conference rounds this year, we’ve noticed a lot of talk about making digital content accessible for people with all kinds of abilities and disabilities. The good news for content writers and editors is that a lot of making content accessible for screen readers and other assistive technology is just good, effective digital writing.
Here are a few tips to keep top of mind to keep your content accessible:
- Develop unique page titles that provide information about the core meaning of the page. When possible, try to put the most differentiating information first.
- Create subheads to organize groups of information. These should be more explanatory, and less “catchy.” Go with an informational approach as opposed to a marketing one.
- Organize content simply. Use lists when it makes sense, and write in short, concise sentences.
- Avoid using directional language that mentions the layout of the page, or placement of its elements. (For example, don’t say, “Select the button on the bottom of the page.”)
- Always spell out acronyms on first use, no matter how common you think they are.
- Write alternative text for images. Every image needs alternative text that describes what the image is showing, and it should be as descriptive of the image’s function as possible.
- In transactional content, including error messages, make it as clear as possible what the user needs to do, including exactly what error occurred, and how to fix it. Also, be as clear as possible as to what format the input needs to be entered. (For example, slashes and dashes)
- Create link text that describes the content of the page it’s linking to. If what’s being linked to is a PDF, that should be noted. If it’s linking to an external site, that should be noted as well.
- Include transcripts for any videos.
If you’d like help with making your digital content more accessible, contact us for more information.