Imagine you’re a marketing intern trying to expand your outreach and engagement with your client base. You spend hours sifting through different blog themes and deciding what subject matter you want to explore. Hours of work later, you are finally ready to make your first post. However, there’s a slight problem: you have not created your post with disability accessibility in mind.
This is exactly what I went through creating my first blog post last week for Lead At Any Level. While I have plenty of experience in legal research and writing, this was my first crack at a more casual form of writing. Amy approached me about some aspects of my article that would present difficulties to those with a visual impairment. Let’s use my mistakes as a learning opportunity. Here are some tips for writing blog posts for accessibility!
Pictures and videos can be a great way to supplement the content of your posts. However, you should make sure that the use of media does not create barriers for those with visual or audial impairments.
Color Choice and Contrast
Whether you’re deciding on a blog post theme or adding pictures, it is best to avoid distracting or high-saturation images. Opt for muted tones and high-contrast images. This goes for text as well. The University of Edinburgh recommends a minimum contrast of 4.5:1 or 3.1:1 for large text. It is also crucial to avoid intense graphics and flashing images. These can be triggering for those with epilepsy and other disabilities.
Your blog should not be overly reliant on music and audio effects. In fact, it is best to make them optional. If you include a video in your post, include a transcript! This will ensure that viewers with hearing impairments have a substantially equal experience to those listening to the audio.
Pictures are great additions to any blog! They are an opportunity to make your content visually appealing and personable. With that being said, I give you the same warning as the previous tip; do not become overly reliant! Alt tags are an effective way to improve accessibility.
If you are like me and had no clue what an alt-tag is, it is an alternative text that describes the image being displayed. These are helpful for those who use tools such as screen readers. It is worth noting that these are more than just simple captions. I loved the University of Edinburgh’s description of making alt tags, “a written image of what we see for people who cannot.”
Text and Format Accessibility
There are a few easy changes you can make to your blog to make it easier to view.
You should use size 14 font at the minimum in an easy-to-read font (no wacky fonts!). Avoid italics and blocks of uppercase letters
This was one of the pitfalls I had with my first blog post. I included hyperlinks to outside resources. The issue was that I used the same word for two different links. This creates difficulties for those with visual impairments who use a screen reader. Make sure your links are specific and different from each other.
This tip will make your content more digestible regardless of your reader’s disability status. Having enough white space for readers to differentiate between sections will help with comprehension. You can also look into adjusting your margins and line heights.
Again, this is an area that will benefit any reader of your blog. The biggest step you can take in this category is to include a read-aloud feature if possible.
Additionally, you should consider having translations available in different languages. This can help your message reach a broader audience!
Sometimes less is more! Go with language that feels organic. When using abbreviations or industry jargon, provide clear explanations.
Additional Accessibility Resources
I know I just threw a lot of information at you, but do not fear! There are plenty of resources to help.
- WordPress has a few different resources for accessibility. This includes a filter for accessible themes and an accessibility handbook.
- For images, Vischeck is a tool that checks for colorblind accessibility. There are also various online guides for creating alt texts.
- Finally, some good resources for general accessibility are this article from the University of Edinburgh and an accessibility guide from UC Berkeley.
Are We Missing Anything?
Are there any tips we forgot to include that you utilize in your writing? How can WE improve? Reach out to us and let us know!