Are you writing for accessibility?

Are you writing for accessibility?

Writing content for the web is no easy-feat; it’s a complex task that requires you to think about the structure, format and words you use. While getting the right words on the page is important, you must also consider certain technicalities when writing web content.

Writing for accessibility is crucial for web content. It means creating content that has no barriers and allows complete access to, or interaction with the website. What you write affects the delivery of your information online.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 provides important information on how to make web content more accessible. Federal, state and territory government departments need to comply with levels A and AA of WCAG 2.0 to make their content as accessible as possible. It’s recommended you use these guidelines whenever developing content for the web.

Use our list of accessibility tips below, as well as the WCAG 2.0 guidelines to ensure your writing can be understood by all users.

  1. Write for everyone

When creating content for your website, always write in a style that is inclusive and easy to understand. It needs to be customer-focused, written in plain language, relevant and engaging.

Reading words on a page is very different to reading words on a screen. The type, quantity and layout of information online should appear differently to a printed document. When writing for the web, consider:

  • Headings – make sure they clearly describe the topic to help navigate users around the site.
  • Page titles – use a clear title to clearly describe the page and its intentions.
  • Writing style – Plain English is the best way to write content. It means readers can understand the document quickly and easily. Aim for age 9 reading level (Australian Year 3 or Year 4) so everyone can understand your content.
  1. Images

When selecting images, consider if they can be interpreted by screen readers, voice recognition and keyboard navigation. For example, only include images on a page if they meet a real user need and add to the text. If you choose to use images, use meaningful alternative (alt) text to accurately describe it. Also, use different text for the caption and alt text to help sight impaired users listening to the page through assistive technology.

  1. Audio and Video

All audio and video files on your website must have a transcript for people with a disability. The transcript must tell the story and present the same information as the pre-recorded content. Also include accurate captions to explain what the multi-media is about. Don’t rely on auto-captioning options because they will not always accurately describe the text.

Creating accessible content is an important part of online writing and you should refer to these tips when developing content for government clients.

If you want to know more about creating content for web, check out our Ultimate 10 Step Content Creation Checklist for Government Communications.

Fortnightly a staff member puts pen to paper to write about an aspect of content communication that speaks to them, and hopefully, informs you. This is a space where our passion for writing, learning and sharing information comes to shine.

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