Accessibility for Content Creators

Content creators play a key role in ensuring the accessibility of websites, digital documents, and related content. Writing clearly and concisely, and focusing on the following core concepts will have a significant positive impact on the accessibility of your content. The CDA has also collected a variety of free training videos to help you learn more about creating accessible digital content.

A11y Top 10 Checklist for Content Creators

1. Do webpages and documents have meaningful titles?

When creating a new webpage or document, be sure to include a meaningful title that accurately describes the purpose of the content. Titles are announced by screen readers and also appear in browser tabs and search results. The best practice is to “front-load” your page title so that page-specific information appears first followed by more general information. For example, the title of this page is: <title>Accessibility for Content Creators | Center for Digital Accessibility | The University of Chicago</title>

2. Has content been structured with semantic and properly ordered headings?

Organize your content with a properly formatted heading structure. Be sure to make your main page heading, typically the big, bold text at the start of your page, an <h1> to facilitate page navigation and comprehension and avoid skipping heading levels.

3. Is link text clear and meaningful?

Write meaningful link text so that the purpose of each link can be understood without needing the surrounding text. Eradicate ambiguous link text such as “click here” and “learn more” and avoid using the same text to link to different locations. When linking to a document, include the document type (PDF, Word, PowerPoint, etc.) in the link text so the user knows what to expect.

4. Are semantic lists used to present lists of information?

Use semantic HTML list markup on a webpage or built-in styles in your document to denote ordered (numbered) and unordered (usually bulleted) lists.

5. Do images have appropriate text alternatives?

When editing content, make sure to add alternative text for all non-decorative images. When images are used for decoration, include an empty alt="" attribute or mark the image as decorative in your document. For guidance regarding complex graphics and other images, consult the DIAGRAM Center Image Description Guidelines.

6. Has content been written with readability in mind?

When writing for the web, pay attention to readability so that content is understandable to a wide range of visitors. In addition to the items in this checklist, other readability principles include:

  • Writing at a high school grade level, when possible;
  • Only using all-caps text for acronyms or when styled with CSS;
  • Never underlining anything that’s not a link;
  • Using italics sparingly;
  • Avoiding ableist language.

7. Is the language of the web content defined?

Make sure that the language of your content is declared. Both assistive technologies and conventional browsers can render text more accurately when the language of the content is identified. If your page includes content in multiple languages, ensure that sections not in the primary language are tagged with the correct lang="" attribute.

8. Is color being used appropriately and does it have sufficient contrast?

Avoid using color alone to convey meaning. For example, do not use red text only to indicate emphasis, required fields, or errors; use a symbol such as an asterisk (*) or the word “Required.” In addition, choose colors with sufficient color contrast. Color contrast can be checked with free tools such as the WebAIM Contrast Checker.

9. Are tables used for data only?

To present tabular data, use well-structured data tables with a semantically marked header row or column. Avoid split, merged or blank cells, and nested tables. Tables should never be used for layout.

10. Have captions and transcripts been included with all videos and other multimedia content?

For multimedia content, provide appropriate captions, transcripts, and audio descriptions.