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Content Management Accessibility Guidelines and Best Practices

Below are some general accessibility guidelines that follow the WCAG’s guidelines to help you with managing your website content going forward. Check our blog post for more information on accessibility best practices.

Accessible Headings

Screen readers need to be able to communicate the context of a page or section within a page.

  • Use descriptive language in H1 headings: The Heading 1 aka H1 aka “Title of the page” should be the topic of the page and not marketing lingo or jargon.
  • Use unique H1 heading text: The same H1 shouldn’t be used on other pages of the website.
  • Use only one H1 per page: The H1 informs the tools of the subject of the page.
  • Use headings in general to emphasize content: Use the other headings (H2, H3, H4, H5, H6) to highlight and further emphasize page content.
  • Use headings in-order: Headings titles should be in order H1 >H2 >H3 >H4 >H5 >H6.

Accessible Links

Screen readers need to be able to communicate the context behind a link.

  • Use descriptive language in links: Text links should NOT say “read more” and “learn more” – describe for your visitors what the resulting page is going to give them.
  • Link to other useful pages of the site throughout your content: Allows the visitor to quickly seek other information.
  • Links should look different and stand out from content: Beyond the use of color, use an arrow “→” or carrot “>” or underline to further emphasize to visitors that the text is a link.
  • When using images as links: Do not simply use an image as a link. Images should be supplemented with text to help emphasize links.
  • Avoid using the same link text for all links: Ensure links that have the same name go to the same destination.

Accessible Images

Blind users can’t see images, nor does a screen reader that a blind user is using.

  • Avoid images containing text: A screen reader cannot read an image, therefore images should not contain valuable text or information that is not available on the page.
  • Images should include alt text: Images used for means other than decoration should include alt text to describe the image so a screen reader can inform the user of the contents of the image (e.g. Woman using phone at desk).
  • Image alt text descriptions: Image alt text should describe the image and should not use special characters.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing in alt text: Alt text is not a place to load up on target keyphrases. While a keyphrase can be used occasionally, do not use it on every image.

Accessible Videos

  • Paid tools often lend more flexibility and features including closed captioning and video transcriptions. Use the paid or pro versions of 3rd party hosted video tools.
  • Offer a link to a page with the full video transcribed on the page in the WYSIWYG.
  • Do not play audio automatically.

Other Accessibility Content Tips

  • Always include a link to the sitemap in the footer of your website.
  • Consider providing an accessibility statement page to your website and link to that page in the footer.
  • Make sure bulleted lists actually use bulleted list formatting.
  • Provide clear instructions on forms.
  • Make sure forms aren’t too long and each field has a descriptive label.
  • Include a page in the footer that contains an accessibility statement.
  • Use simple, concise language and explain any abbreviations or words where meaning is ambiguous without pronunciation.
  • Make sure PDFs and other downloadable files are accessible.
  • Make a plan to go back through older content pages that have been migrated to the new website and make sure you’re following accessibility best practices.

Accessibility Testing Tools

If you follow the best practices we’ve outlined throughout your project, your content should bode well with accessibility testing. To be certain, you can use always use these tools to test each page you create:

Ongoing Support

Is your organization upping their web accessibility requirements? Are you legally obligated to do more or report on your web accessibility standards? Contact Shahin – He can talk to you about what it looks like to engage Orbit in an audit and get you an estimate.