We are NC Gov 3.0

Creating Accessible Content

Web accessibility brings to mind blindness to many folks. But web accessibility is about more than visual impairments. Deafness interferes with audio content, motor impairments make navigation difficult for some, and cognitive impairments are also an accessibility issue. 

The Digital Commons platform has many features that help accessibility, including:  

  • Strong visual contrast to help with readability
  • Large button targets to make clicking easier
  • Menus optimized for navigating with a keyboard rather than a mouse

That said, content authors have a role in maintaining their website's accessibility. Some of the key ways to do that are:

  • "Chunking" up content into easily consumed sections and subsections, with meaningful headings. Screen readers will often scan a page's headings. This also increases readability for the general public. For example:
    • "Step 1" is not a particularly meaningful headline
    • "Step 1: Create a Username" is better  
  • Maintaining a proper outline. Headings must be applied in order. The title of the page is coded with a header tag called an H1 tag (you won't have to select it). The next level of  headers are called H2 in the WYSIWIG format dropdown box, and you do have to select it. If there are subheadings below H2 content, select the H3 in the format dropdown. Do not skip heading numbers to achieve a certain look. Do not format headers using bolded text.  
  • Using meaningful words for link text. A person using a screen reader may just navigate from link to link, rather than reading every word. A link entitled "click here" or "read more" is not helpful. Instead, have link text that spells out exactly what the target page is. For example:
    • Use "2014 Data on ABC Program Results," not "2014 data." 
    • Use "Read Secretary Jones Plan for Increasing Compliance," not "the plan."
    • Use "Comment on the Proposal" not "Comment."
  • Adding metadata. This includes "alternative text" and "title" for each image, as well as page-level descriptions. See the "metadata" option at the bottom of the edit view of a page. 
  • Ensure good contrast on landing page bands. If you create bands in landing pages that have background images, ensure the background is not busy behing the text. Ensure there is a lot of contrast for easy reability. 

This video can give you a better understanding of the barriers that websites can pose to people with disabilities.