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Five tips for more accessible web pages

Creating accessible Web content means eliminating the barriers to information for people who may use alternative devices to access content or for people who may need to consume content in different forms.

Here are 5 ways to make your web pages more accessible using AEM.

1. Write descriptive link text

Consider the following link.

Click here for more info.

This link doesn’t give the user any information about where they’re about to go. Where is “here,” exactly? In contrast, consider this link:

See our soil sample instructions page for more information.

The second link describes exactly where the user will be taken. If the user isn’t interested in soil sample instructions, they won’t waste their time with an extra click.

Adding descriptive text makes it much more likely that someone will click on your link. And even if your link was broken your user would may still have enough information to find the page.

2. Use Alt Text

This is a biggie. Without alternative text, a screen reader will have no idea what’s in your pretty picture. Instead, it’ll read the filename to the user, likely something like “DSC003443.jpg” – not exactly user-friendly!

In addition, alternative text helps search engines like Google. When someone searches for “potato bug” they’ll be much more likely to find your picture if you use alternative text.

In AEM, make sure that you add a descriptive title for your image, and it will automatically be included as the Alt text. At minimum, make sure your image filename is descriptive. See page 12 of the AEM manual for more information.

3. Write clearly

If your writing is concise and simple, it’ll help people with cognitive disabilities, people who aren’t native speakers, users on mobile devices—and it’ll make your core ideas clearer for everyone.

Here are 3 guidelines:

4. Put headings in order

Proper headings organize your page visually. They also help Google and screen readers understand your page’s structure.

You can think of your page as an outline. Use Heading 2 for main sections of your page and Heading 3 (and so forth) for sub-points under your main sections. Just like an outline, headings should be arranged in a sequential order. For instance:

  • Heading 2
    • Heading 3
      • Heading 4
  • Heading 2
    • Heading 3
    • Heading 3

Here’s an example of a poorly ordered page:

  • Heading 2
    • Heading 2
    • Heading 4
  • Heading 3

Headings shouldn’t just be used for emphasis. Even if you think it looks better, resist the temptation to use a Heading 2 simply to draw attention to a bit of text.

5. Provide captions and transcripts

In addition to those with hearing and sight disabilities, captions and transcripts are useful for many other people, too. For instance, non-native English speakers might not understand your beautiful Southern drawl!

It is tempting to rely on YouTube’s automatic captions, but don’t do it. They are not good. (If you don’t believe me, make a video and read the captions. You’ll see.)

Here’s how to caption a video:

http://oit.caes.uga.edu/captioning-youtube-videos/

By the way, if you don’t currently produce any video, you’d be surprised at how easy it is. You could take a video with your phone, upload it to YouTube, use the “Video” component in AEM – and voila! Just make sure to use a YouTube account that everyone in your office or department has access to – not your personal one. Here’s a simple 5-step tutorial for creating videos.


Content for this post was adapted from an article on Zapier.com.

Click here for more info.

Just kidding! Take a look at our OIT web accessibility resources page for lots more information on how to make your pages available to everyone, and don’t hesitate to send us an email at caesweb@uga.edu if you have any questions.