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Accessible Websites and Documents

Accessible Websites

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities.

Don’t let this overwhelm you though. Accessibility can be a straightforward exercise, especially when you consider it right from the start. Many website-building platforms offer support and tools to make your website more accessible. For example, Squarespace has an article on their support website describing some ways to improve your site’s accessibility.

Start by having a conversation with your web designer, or reading over the options of the various website builders, to make sure you aren’t leaving any of your audience behind.

Resources and Tools
Wikipedia has a great primer on website accessibility, as does Plank Design.

Web Accessibility offers some great tips on how to develop a more accessible website.

BBC My Web My Way has how to guides and resources to make the web easier to use for users.

In the BBC Future Media Accessibility Standards and Guidelines, BBC outlines the requirements and recommendations necessary for ensuring their digital products are accessible to the widest possible audience. A really great reference tool for you to base your own practices on.

Accessible Documents

Developing an accessible online document is a helpful way to ensure that all people reviewing and reading the document can do so with ease and clarity.

There are ways to create accessible PDF’s. In your edit tab, you will find an Accessibility tab that takes you to features to help make the document accessible.

Note: if a PDF is scanned, you will have to perform what is called an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) so that the image will be converted to actual characters. This feature allows you to add descriptions to tags and photos.

There are also ways to create an accessible Microsoft Word document. Using a style in your document is helpful for screen readers to understand where the headings are and what the most important information is, etc. Proper headings and spacing is important when it comes to formatting your page. You can set your headings in a word document under “Styles” in the Home tab. In Word, it is also helpful to create a table of contents, which should include all headings you outlined in the document. You can also program text attached to a photo, which is very helpful for the reader; this can be done when you right click and “format picture.”

Alt-Text Field

What is the alt-text for? W3 describes it very well, but in brief, the alt attribute is defined in a set of tags (namely, img, area and optionally for input and applet) to allow you to provide a text equivalent for the object. In other words, alt text describes the function of each visual.

There is an excellent Guide to the Alt-Text Field by Phase2 that explains how to best use Alt-Text for your photos, logos and designs.

This page was last updated on July 1 2018