Accessibility

We want everyone to be able to read content on your website, so all users get the same experience. And it’s not just because it’s a law. That means we have to do our best to comply with standards for accessibility. When you pay attention to accessibility, you’ve automatically improved usability.

What you can do for a more usable website:

Some of these have to do with accessibility and what you have to do legally. Others have to do with usability. Both make content easier to read and websites easier to use.

This is a quick checklist. There's a lot of good stuff on the web if you want to read more.

Headings and Titles

  • Use true headings for meaningful structure.
  • Page and post titles should be descriptive and informative.

Lists

  • Use bullets for lists.
  • Don’t put whole paragraphs into bullets. Use headings and paragraphs.

Text and Writing

Break up content into chunks, doing even more paragraphs than you normally would.

Use true text. Don’t use images that have a bunch of text baked into them.

  • Use simple, plain language.
  • Use active voice, not passive.
  • No jargon and no “junk” words.
  • Put descriptive, concise alt text on images.

Links

  • Make link phrases and text descriptive. (Instead of http://www.example.com)
  • Don’t say “click here.”

Other Things

  • Don’t underline text that’s not a link.
  • Little to no center aligning.
  • No justifying margins.
  • PDFs and Word docs need to be accessible.
  • High contrast between text and background, even for buttons.
  • Video should have captions and audio should be transcribed.

Choose words with fewer syllables. It's more work to write simply, but it's worth it.

Examples, instead of that, try this.

  • utilize → use
  • prior to → before
  • commence → start
  • sufficient → enough
  • in order to → to

Use contractions: Instead of “do not” use “don’t.”

Check Readability: Readability Analyzer
Aim for a Flesch-Kincaid reading-grade level that’s less than 9.

Lists of Simple Words: Simple Words and Phrases - plainlanguage.gov