Overview of Accessible Content
When creating content, there are a few basic steps you can take to ensure your documents are accessible. While the specific steps may vary between software, the main concepts are the same. Below are just a few of these concepts to keep in mind:
- Use heading styles
- Add alternative text to images
- Use descriptive link text
- Use bulleted or numerical lists
- Set table headers and columns
Visit the links in the side navigation to view additional information on specific software.
Headings should be added using the content authoring software to assist screen readers in creating an outline of the page. Bolding text or using a larger font is not recognized as a header. This allows the user to easily navigate between headings.
Alternative Text or “alt text” is used to textually describe an image for those who are unable to see it. When using a screen reader, it will dictate that an image is present followed by the alternative text. If an image is used for decoration or contains no information, a setting can be enabled that will skip over the image.
Descriptive Link Text
When adding a link to your content, be sure to describe the website. Students who are using a screen reader have the ability to jump from link to link. By using “click here” they are unable to identify where the link will take them.
- Yes: For technical assistance, please submit a help desk ticket via the eLearning Support Website.
- If the student jumps to this link, they’ll know what website they’re about to access.
- No: For technical assistance, please click here to submit a ticket.
- If the student jumps to this link, they’ll not know what website they’re about to access.
- No: For technical assistance, please visit http://help.ericsilva.me.
- It is important to note that screen readers read each character. In this example, the screen reader will announce “h-t-t-p-colon-forward slash-forward slash, etc.”
When creating any type of list it is recommended to use the list tool available in the content authoring software. The benefit of using the list tool versus creating your own is that the screen reader will be able to identify the group of information.
- With Lists: “List with 5 items…1. Brownsville…2. Edinburg…”
- Without Lists: “1. Brownsville. 2. Edinburg…”
When creating data tables it is important to include a caption and identify the row and column headers. Identifying these two types of headers is critical for the screen reader to properly announce the table.
Note: Tables should not be used to design page layouts.