Here at Linguistica International, we work with our clients to make their digital, written and spoken assets available to as many people as possible by translating, localising and writing original copy in more than 200 languages. But although we help clients spread their nets far and wide, sometimes there are gaps in those nets that certain elements of their target market can slip through.
‘Accessible content’ is content that all people, including those with disabilities, can view, interact with and share. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are a set of principles that content and website creators can follow to make sure they provide equal access and opportunity to those with diverse abilities.
Creating accessible content can seem like a huge undertaking, but there are five simple steps you can take right now to make your content more accessible for readers with disabilities…
1. Improve your content’s ‘readability’
For some people with disabilities, working their way through overly long documents or web pages can be an arduous process, which is why you should keep messages short, concise and to the point. The motto “the simpler, the better” is certainly one to stick to when creating content online.
If you use the WordPress CMS to upload content to your site then the free Yoast SEO plugin will give it a Flesch reading ease score. The higher your content scores, the easier it is for users of every kind to read.
2. Include meaningful alt text
Internet users with visual impairments use screen readers to help them read the text displayed on a computer screen, whether it’s menus, icons, dialogue boxes or folders. However, screen readers are not able to interpret images, which is why you should communicate what images on your content or website are trying to convey.
You can do this very easily by creating alternative text, known as alt text, for every image. Simply clicking on an image in your content management system (CMS) will allow you to enter alt text, which should be a description of the image in one sentence or less. The screen reader is able to read the alt text and give users with visual impairments an accurate idea of what the image is trying to convey. Here’s more about how to write effective alt text.
3. Write more descriptive links
Another simple adjustment that should become best practice is to ensure that any hyperlinks you include in your content to take the reader to another website or page are as descriptive as possible. It’s not uncommon for uninformative text like ‘click here to find out more’ to be used, but again, screen readers are unable to interpret where the links will lead, which makes life difficult for people will disabilities.
4. Check your colour contrast
This is something few webmasters think about but it could make a huge difference not just for users with disabilities but for everyone who views your content. If there is an insufficient contrast between the background and foreground colours on your content then you’re unknowingly making life difficult for prospective customers. The minimum recommended contrast ratio between background and foreground colours is 4:5:1. Here’s a free tool you can use to check the colour contrast on your web pages.
5. Use captions and subtitles for content
If you share video content online, make sure you include captions and an audio description. This is not just a benefit to those with hearing impairments. Research shows 85 percent of people turn the sound off when watching videos online, so it can also be a big help to your wider readership.
Making your content accessible to all
Here at Linguistica International, our translation and copywriting services can help you create accessible content that’s available to your target market, wherever they are based. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02392 987 765 to find out more.