Ten tips for creating accessible content

1. Text is usually accessible

  • Watch out for pictures of text
  • Provide a text alternative for meaningful images
  • Describe the meaning of graphs and diagrams in the accompanying text 

2. Provide alternatives for multimedia and non-HTML files

  • Provide options for file types if using non-HTML files - RTF is usually OK
  • Key information or functionality in multimedia should be available in another form. For example: transcript, summary, table of information etc. 

3. Structure information with data tables, headings, lists

  • Heading levels should be set consistently. Styles can be used to set fonts, bolding etc.
  • Within the HTML, style-sheets can be used for presentation of lists, table row and column headers etc. 

4. Use colour and visual design well

  • Use complementary graphics and visual cues to help users grasp the meaning and structure of the information and functionality
  • Ensure good contrast between text and background: minimal background patterns
  • Do not use colour alone to convey information. For example: use a red asterisk to highlight a compulsory field in a form - do not just highlight the label in red.
  • Avoid distracting images or design elements including blinking text and continual animations. 

5. Everything must be both keyboard and mouse accessible

  • All navigation and all functionality must be accessible using the keyboard as well as by mouse.
  • Be particularly careful of scripted dropdown menus and links within Flash movies. 

6. Consistent clear and USER friendly navigation with front-loaded content

  • Consistent navigation, using clearly labelled links and headings helps all users
  • Document structure should be user centred not author centred
  • Key points must be at the top of online documents and at the start of paragraphs and lists. 

7. Provide shortcuts for page navigation, content access and interactive components

  • Users need to be able to skip over repetitive navigation on a site (via keyboard, not mouse)
  • Tables of Contents (based on proper heading structures are important for longer documents)
  • Use drop down lists to help people fill in forms correctly 

8. Watch the total download times

  • Large files (including multi media) can be impossible for some people to download - provide a range of options
  • Images need to be in the right format and appropriately compressed
  • Be careful about requiring users to download a plug-in. These can be very large and not everyone can install or run them. 

9. Take special care with the design and online construction of interactive elements

These include:

  • Assessment tasks
  • Forms of any kind
  • Interactive multimedia
  • Chat or collaboration tools
  • These need expert input in design and technical online construction 

10. Check the accessibility of content frequently

  • Use simple checks of content before putting online
  • These are listed in the attached checklist

 

 

 

 

 

Areas of study and research

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