The guides below are created for anyone who distributes digital content. They contain key concepts, best practices, examples, testing methods and resources that support each guideline.
Content creators will learn how to correctly create a page structure that will allow users with reading or attention impairments and vision disabilities easier navigation, why alternative text is vital for screen reader users with vision impairments, understand why some rely on video captioning and transcripts, or how to avoid posting PDF documents online.
Key Content Principles
- Headings: Heading levels, like H1, H2, H3, etc., are used by screen readers to indicate the correct reading order. This tutorial explains the proper time to use different heading levels and how to fix the problems resulting from incorrect header levels.
- Links: Inaccessible links can make it unclear where the link will lead for screen reader users. This tutorial goes over the rules of link text and how you can best inform all users of where links will send them.
- Lists: Improperly formatted lists are hard for screen reader users to understand. This tutorial explains the differences between ordered and unordered lists and when to use each type.
- Tables: This tutorial goes over the table HTML elements <th> and <td> and how to properly use them in combination with the <table> attribute to make data tables accessible.
- Layout Tables: Layout tables are used to format a page according to an invisible grid. This tutorial goes over alternatives to layout tables and why they are detrimental to accessibility.
- Accessible Forms: Because forms are interactive, there are extra steps to making sure users of all kinds can navigate through fields. This tutorial goes over the <label> attribute, fill fields, radio buttons, checkboxes, etc., and how to properly indicate required fields.
- Web Images: This tutorial goes over what to consider in choosing web images, including color contrast, quality, images that don’t load, gifs or animated images, properly labeling and image descriptions (also known as alternative text).
- Images of Text: Avoid images of text since assistive technology won't be able to read the information presented in the image.
- Color Contrast: This tutorial goes over checking and remediating color contrast and how color contrast is important to accessibility.
- Use of Color: Color should never be used alone as an indicator. This tutorial goes over how to design your layout in an accessible way when incorporating color.
- Motion: This tutorial goes over the concerns with motion content and how to make sure your motion content is safe for users.
- Sensory Characteristics: To be accessible, sites should never indicate information using a singular sensory detail. This tutorial goes over how to properly test for color issues and clear instructions.
- Readability: Readability refers to how easily readers can understand the content. This tutorial goes over how to improve your text’s readability through formatting and word choice.
Video and audio accessibility encompasses media alternatives and player formats. Text alternatives include captions and transcripts, audio alternatives for video content include regular and extended audio descriptions. For video specifically, it is also important to screen the content for rapid flashing movement (see the motion tutorial for more on movement).
- Videos need captions. Review the Video Accessibility Guidelines and learn how to create accessible videos. Note that while auto-generated captions are helpful, they are often inaccurate. Make sure to review your auto-captioning before uploading.
- Audio content needs to provide a transcript.
Note: This guide does not go over live captioning for video conferences.
Important: Whenever possible, share content in a digital format and use PDF documents sparingly. PDF documents can be hard to consume not only for assistive technology but also for mobile users. Existing PDFs can be challenging, time-consuming, and costly to remediate.
- Learn how to avoid posting a PDF document online by using other formats
- Check if your existing PDF is accessible
- Learn how to remediate your existing PDF document
- Create accessible PDF documents before uploading (if you must provide the content in a PDF format)
Social media is a part of everyday communication so it is important that social media posts be made accessible. Different platforms have different features to be used. These social media guidelines will help in understanding how to create accessible content specific to Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
- Learn what different platforms have to offer and how to use each unique set of features.
- Learn how to make accessible video and image posts
Emails need to be made accessible because they are an integral form of communication. Use the email accessibility guidelines to write emails that will be accessible across all devices and to blind and low vision users.
- Learn how to apply text guidelines to the email format
- Make the content of your email accessible to screen readers
- Learn how to make embedded files, pictures, and videos accessible
- Use Microsoft Outlook to add alt-text to images