Creating accessible web content

The idea of web accessibility may seem daunting to some, but the concept is simple. According to the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), web accessibility means that people with disability can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with and contribute to the Web. Essentially, ensuring that your website and content is accessible means that more people can access your products, premises, and services.

Once a website has been developed to be accessible, maintaining its accessibility comes down to consistency. It is important that everyone who has permission to upload content to your organisation's website is aware of the accessibility functions, and adheres to accessibility standards. Here are some simple tips to help you ensure your web content is accessible to everyone.

Images

  • Ensure all images have alternative text, so that people who cannot see the image can still understand what it is trying to convey. If the image is illustrating a complex concept, use a long text alternative. If the image is for layout purposes, or purely decorative, state this in the alt text.
  • Don't use images or graphics of text as text. Use live, properly styled text to ensure everyone can understand.

Use of colour

  • Don't rely on colour alone to convey information. Make sure you use text labels, patterns or textures as well, to accommodate people with low vision or colour blindness, and people using screen readers.
  • Avoid referring to colour to communicate, for example, “press the red button”, or “as highlighted in green”.
  • Avoid using colour combinations where the text and background colours have low contrast. The minimum colour contrast ratio, as determined by the The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, AA level, is 4.5:1 for normal text, and 3:1 for large or bold text. There are various free, easy to use contrast checking tools such as Vision Australia’s Colour Contrast Analyser and Paciello Group’s Colour Contrast Analyser.

Layout

  • Make sure you use the correct styles for headings, and use relevant HTML tags to identify quotations, tables and data.
  • Use tables for data only, not for layout, and ensure each column and row has an appropriate heading.
  • Give each page a meaningful title (not just your organisation’s name on every page).
  • Identify the language of your page (generally <lang="eng">). When words or phrases from different languages are used within a primarily English-language page, identify these words separately.
  • Give hyperlinks meaningful labels that make sense on their own. Avoid using URLs in-text, and don't hyperlink words like "read more" or "click here", as these don't make sense when taken out of context.

Further reading

Media Access Australia’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

If in doubt, check with your technical department to make sure your content is accessible, or contact your AND Relationship Manager.