Ten tips for creating accessible content
1 Text is usually accessible
- Watchout 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
- 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
- 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
6 Consistent clear and USER friendly navigation with front-loaded
- Consistent navigation, using clearly labelled links and headings helps
- 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
- 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
- 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
These tips were provided at a workshop run by the National
Information and Library Service.