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Accessible content

What good is your original, noteworthy content if not everyone can read it?

Accessibility needs to be factored into your website design and everything you publish.

By making your content accessible to people using assistive technology, such as screen readers, you will also end up optimising your content for different devices and situations.

For example, adding subtitles to any video or audio content will ensure that deaf people will be able to read it, but it also means that people looking at your site on the bus won’t have to wait until they’re able to turn the volume up.

The full Web Content Accessibility Guidelines tell you everything you need to do to make your site compliant, but some key things for content writers to bear in mind include:

  • alt tags on images
  • making sure links are descriptive – not ‘click here’ or ‘read more’
  • headlines should be properly nested, with just one H1 heading on a page (at the top!) and all others should be H2, then H3 etc.
  • don’t use images of text – if you’re including a chart or infographic it’s best to create it in a dedicated app such as Infogram, then embed it rather than adding it as a picture
  • don’t use jargon or unexplained abbreviations.

I recommend adding the SiteImprove Accessibility Checker extension for Chrome and using it when you preview your site initially, and then every time you preview your articles before publishing.