ADA Web Accessibility Cheat Sheet for Content Editors

We all know that accessibility is important. The problem is, it is not always clear what exactly we can do to make our sites more accessible.

While ADA for websites is more than just these items, these are ones which you should focus on as it related to content input and creation in your website.

How to Make Your Website ADA Compliant

So let’s take a look at a few of the key items that content editors should keep in mind to ensure that websites are ADA accessibility compliant.

Use Descriptive Page Titles (Main Heading)

Page titles are important for a lot of reasons. The page title appears at the top of all screen reader-enabled devices when loading, and as such it should be accurate and informative to those who need access as well as every other way SEO optimization (search engine visibility). Other UX considerations include being able to use them in searches themselves - which means good practice on your site is imperative!

Use Headings with a Hierarchy

As is the case with page titles, there are bib benefits to an ADA compliant hierarchy for headings.

For example: A person who relies on a screen reader will often navigate through your content by scanning headings before deciding what they want read — just as sighted users do; and logically structured headings <h1> to <h6> create a natural page hierarchy. This makes this easier because it enables them to figure out how much information can fit onto each line without scrolling too far down into the text beneath any given heading. Simply bolding text or switching up font sizes should not be used for headings.

Include Alt Text for Images

Every content not represented by text is invisible for screen readers. Provide concise descriptions in alt attributes for all content images and text alternatives for charts etc. For examples and more information, check out this alt text quick video we created. You can also check out this Facebook post we created with real examples of proper use of alt text.

Describe Buttons, Links and CTAs

Write descriptive links. You never want to create a link that just says click here. Instead, describe what action the user is taking by clicking the link, for example: download volunteer application.

Use Bulleted or Numbered Lists for Related Items

Numbered lists (<ol> elements) are best for listing steps in a process. Bulleted lists (<ul> elements) are best for lists of links or other information. Do not use asterisks or dashes to manually format items as a list. Properly formatted lists allow readers who use assistive technology to navigate the information.

Target 6th to 8th-Grade Reading Levels

When writing content for the homepage and other important pages, aim for a 6th grade reading level. On other less primary pages, use text aimed at an 8th grade reading level on average. You can test your writing level using the free Hemingway Editor.

Caption Video and Audio

Provide text alternatives for audio and video content. Captions should be made available with pre-recorded and live video/audio content. Voice recognition software can help create captions for some type of videos.

Much More to Learn!

Content editors play a critical role in the creation and maintenance of an accessible site.

WCAG 2.1 provides clear accessibility guidelines that are not difficult to implement. They just need to be learned, remain top of mind, and get built into the process flow.