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3 Things You Can Do to Improve Accessibility

by Nina Vuong
Post Date:04/25/2017

There’s a common misconception that compliance with WCAG standards is possible by simply implementing “accessible technology”. While the right tools are a great first step, these standards are largely related to the content of a website. In order to maintain compliance, web editors will need to be familiar with WCAG standards and continually monitor and refine their website content.

To help, we’ve outlined three areas where you can make adjustments to ensure your residents can find and understand your website content.

Plain Language

Written material is in plain language if your audience can understand the information the first time they read or hear it. Applying plain language techniques to your communications efforts can help users find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Consider incorporating the following:

  • Avoid jargon and legalese: Short, easy-to-understand words and sentences make content clear and concise
  • Break up text: Bullets and headings allow readers to quickly scan the page to find what they need
  • Use action verbs: Action-oriented content gets people to take the action you want them to take

Header Sequences

Headings provide structure to content on a webpage, clearly describe the information that follows it, and allow users to scan and navigate through each section to find what they need quickly and easily. In addition, headings enable screen readers to go from heading to heading via keyboard shortcuts, similar to how the TAB key goes from link to link. When structuring your content hierarchy, it’s important to remember:

  • Every page should have an H1 heading, telling users what the page is about
  • Heading levels must be in order and levels should not be skipped
  • Bold elements, increased font size or simply a different text color are not substitutes for proper headings

Alternative Text for Images

Images are not used just for decorative purposes; they’re also great for conveying information in a graphical way. In situations where an image is missing, - such as on screen readers -  alternative text, or alt tags, provide a textual alternative. The following points are important to note when thinking about your website’s images and their alt tags:

  • Think about the context before deciding on an appropriate alt tag for the image
  • Decorative images – such as your company logo – do not need alt tags
  • Alt tags should be descriptive yet concise

If you’re interested in learning more best practices on website accessibility, download our Digital Accessibility Checklist.

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