Making your online content accessible isn't just a legal requirement for universities; it creates better content for everyone. Content that's quicker and easier for everyone to understand and use, regardless of individual needs. And the basics are really simple.
Accessible content checklist
For web pages, blogs and social media content.
- Use proper heading styles: don't format text to look like a heading with bold and font size. Apply an appropriate heading style wherever possible.
- Text should be selectable: so don't embed text in images (see point 5!). Make sure you can select, copy and paste your text into another location.
- Write meaningful link text: not click here or read more, which have no context. Like the links on this page, the link text should make sense when read out of context.
- Use bullets or numbered lists: they help everyone scan your content to quickly find what they need. Use the list styles, don't add spaces and dashes manually as this disadvantages screen reader software users who won't know it's a list.
- Alternative text for images: add appropriate 'alt text' if possible - or a full text alternative - if the image conveys information not otherwise available.
- Complex graphics: infographics or flow charts etc can't be described adequately through the 'alt text'. Provide a full text alternative.
- Purely decorative images: enter two speech marks "" into the 'alt text' field rather than adding a pointless description or leaving it blank (which means its filename will be read out loud; not helpful!).
- Social media: most socials have an accessibility option with alt text for posts. You can also describe the image in the post or as a caption.
- Writing good alt text is subjective: these pointers will help
- Table structure matters. Don't use tables simply for layout; only use a table to display data. Specify the heading row, and don't split cells or merge cells.
- Colour: don't use colour alone to convey meaning (many people are colour blind). If using text on a coloured background or image background, you need to check its colour contrast.
- Fonts and styles
- Avoid underlining text unless it's a link.
- Avoid italics or all capitals (they're harder to read if you have dyslexia).
- Left-align text, don't centre it (to help dyslexic readers).
- Use bold sparingly: it slows down reading and can look 'shouty'.
- Edit into plain English: use these plain English techniques to help you edit your draft texts and documents. Editing your text into plain English will make it clearer and more concise. This helps everyone quickly understand your message, and is especially helpful to assistive technology users and those with dyslexia.
- Videos may need audio descriptions, subtitles and more. How to make your videos accessible
- Social media hashtags should be written in #CamelCase #MoreReadable #lessreadable. And give text alternatives for images: see point 5!
Using Site Editor to create accessible content
Inclusive design is a key principle of our website templates in Site Editor and a fundamental aspect of user-centred design. But the content you add and how you format it makes a huge difference - it can make or break the page in terms of its accessibility.
How to check whether your documents and web pages are accessible, find any remaining issues and get advice on how to fix them.
Making content accessible means working a little differently, so we
want to thank you for using our guides.