Creating Accessible Content

Making your digital content accessible

Whether you’re showcasing your work on Portfolio or sharing an image on social media, it’s important to make your content as accessible as possible.

What is digital accessibility and why should you care?

It’s about making sure your content is as understandable and navigable to as many people as possible including:

  • people with disabilities or neurodiversity
  • people with situation disabilities (such as a broken arm)
  • people whose first language is not the language used in your content
  • people in certain situations, for example, someone watching a video on their phone in public might choose to watch the video without sound

Making your content accessible is easy and you don’t need lots of extra time to do it.

Making content accessible can increase the chance of it being found on the web.

How to do it:

Images

  • If you’re uploading images to a website or app and you have the option to add an image description or “alt text’ be sure to do so.
  • Adding image ‘alt text’ allows screen readers to describe the image, which is important for blind and partially sighted people.
  • If there is any text in your image write this into the alt text. If you have the option to add an image caption you can add the text to the caption as well.
  • Text on top of an images should stand out clearly, contrasting with the background (use a gradient layer if in doubt).
  • Alt text increases the chance of your images being returned in search engine results (such as Google image search).

Video

  • When you upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo make sure you add closed captions.
  • Closed captions enable users who are deaf or hard of hearing to understand what is being said in the video.
  • People watching videos on their devices with the sound off might use your captions.
  • Many people have a first language that isn’t yours. Providing them with captions can help them understand your content better.
  • Captions help search engines like Google understand your video content. This can make your content feature higher in the search engine results.
  • Here are 3 reasons to caption your YouTube videos.

Clear language

We don’t read text on a website like we read a paperback novel or magazine. Using clear language makes it easier for everyone to read text online but it’s especially important:

  • for people with specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia) or autism spectrum conditions (such as Asperger Syndrome).
  • for people whose first language is not the language you’re witting in.

When writing:

  • Aim for short sentences that are clear and concise.
  • Don’t use jargon.
  • Break up information with bullet points.
  • Use numbered bullets for instructions.
  • If writing in English, copy/paste your text into Hemingway App which grades how easy text is to read. Aim for a readability score of 5 or 6.

Documents

Camel case hashtags

  • Hashtags can be hard to read and have the potential to cause confusion when written in all upper case or all lower case characters.
  • Hashtags that use an upper-case letter for each word (camel case) are easier to read because each word is more obvious.
  • It can also help screen readers identify each word which gives a better experience to people with visual impairments or neurodiversity.
  • Lastly, it can also aid with meaning. What’s easier to understand? #photooftheday or #PHOTOOFTHEDAY or #PhotoOfTheDay?

Creating accessible content doesn’t take much time or effort but can make a big different to many people. If your content is accessible it is seen and understood by more people and that’s good for them and good for you.

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