Web accessibility is the practice of creating web content that is usable for individuals of all levels of ability, including those with:
- Low or severe vision impairment
- Deafness or hearing loss
- Impaired mobility
Accessibility is important, first and foremost, because it provides all users with the best web experience possible. In addition, we strive to remain in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.
Ways to ensure your site is accessible
You must include an ‘ALT’ text for images
Alternative text, also known as an alt tag or alt text, gives someone with impaired vision additional context about the image on the screen. In your alt text, describe what is going on or what action might be taken here. Give enough detail that your description adds information to the content section the image represents.
Do not create images with embedded text or use images as buttons
Many websites are viewed on mobile devices. With smaller screen sizes, embedded text on images is hard to read. In addition, screen readers cannot determine if there is text on an image, so those using those assistive devices would miss out on the image's content.
Create accessible content in Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office provides an accessibility checker in Word, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, and PowerPoint on Windows and Mac. It can automatically detect basic accessibility issues within your content and offer solutions.
If you plan on embedding or linking content from Word, Excel or PowerPoint on your site, follow the instructions below to open the accessibility checker.
- Click 'Review' at the top of your document
- Select 'Check Accessibility'
- In the results, click the issues to see why and how you can resolve them.
Word document to PDF
If you intend to save a Word document as a PDF, you must take additional steps to make it accessible.
When you finish working on your document:
- Click 'File' then 'Save As'
- Set ‘Save as type’ to PDF and then click the ‘Options’ button
- In the options menu, ensure that ‘Document structure tags for accessibility’ is checked—then select OK and Save.
Create accessible PDFs
Whether you're building a PDF from scratch or you have one already created, Adobe Acrobat can check your PDF for accessibility issues and show you what you need to fix.
- Click ‘Tools’ in the top left corner
- Select 'Accessibility.' This will open a tool box on the right so you can check the accessibility of your document.
- Run a ‘Full Check’
- Fix any remaining issues
The first option under Accessibility is going to be ‘Autotag Document.' This option will do the same thing as selecting ‘Document Structure Tags for Accessibility’ in Microsoft Word. Use this option if you already have the PDF created and need to make it accessible.
Properly use headers
Headers not only make your page easier to scan and read, but it also helps with accessibility. Using headings in the correct order—e.g. H2, H3, H4—allows screen readers to accurately scroll through information on the page. For more information on this, see our Writing for the Web section.