Applicable to any print or digital materials including flyers, webpages, posters, in Word, OpenOffice, PDF, HTML formats.
When creating content, there are a few basic steps that should be followed in order to assure your content is accessible. The core steps needed for accessibility are the same regardless of format or medium you are working in.
A uniform heading structure is often the most important accessibility consideration. Sighted users often scroll the page quickly and look for big, bold text (headings) to get an idea of its structure and content. Screen reader and other assistive technology users also have the ability to navigate documents by heading structure, assuming Heading styles (rather than formatting text to look like headings) are used.
Use heading styles to set your heading text. Pages should be structured in a hierarchical manner:
Add alternative text (or alt-text) to images. Alternative text is needed to provide a non-visual means of representing the content or function of an image. Alternative text should be:
If an image is decorative and does not add to the context of the content, then add a blank space (MS Word) or mark the image as decorative (in PDF).
Follow these principles to create accessible links:
Lists and columns add important hierarchical structure to a document. Use lists to provide the document structure needed for assistive technology users.
There are two types of lists: ordered and unordered.
The purpose of tables is to present data information in a grid, or matrix, and to have columns or rows that show the meaning of the information in the grid. Sighted users scan a table to make associations between data in the table and their appropriate row and/or column headers. Screen reader users make these same associations with tables.
You can add properties to documents so that column headers (headers in the first row of the table) are identified by a screen reader. All tables should follow the guidelines for proper data display:
Tables should NEVER be used to for content layout (e.g. creating multi-columns such as in PDF forms). Screen reader users cannot make sense of content in these tables. In such instances, either a single column should be used, or a column feature in Word or use CSS for web documents to create grid columns.
Convert documents to accessible formats. Available for all LWTech staff, faculty, students, and community members.
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