Accessibility essentials

Introduction to web accessibility, writing about disabilities, making text and documents accessible, and a handy readability tool.

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Enjoy this week's links...


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An introduction to web accessibility

Plain English is all about using clear language to make content easier to read and understand for everyone. But it's just one part of making accessible websites.

If you work in content and want to get a better grip on web accessibility essentials, I strongly recommend this introduction from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It's very much one for your bookmarks.

WCAG 2.2 and what it means for you

If you do know your web accessibility onions, then you may be aware that the latest version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) was released earlier this month.

In this blog post, Craig Abbott does a smashing job of explaining what's changed and why it matters. A lot of the changes are quite technical, but there is plenty in there for us content folk too, including this:

3.2.6 Consistent Help means that you should keep your support options in the same place on every page. For example, phone numbers, links to 'contact us' or buttons to open chat, if they're in the same place all the time, people can find them easily when they run into issues.

Makes sense!

How to make your text and documents accessible

From using heading styles and QR codes to writing meaningful link text, this is a super page of guidance on the University of Kent's website. This is also a good time to tell you that I once wrote about how to write good hyperlinks too.

How to write about disabilities and conditions

This guidance is part of the NHS digital service manual and will help you use inclusive language when writing about disabilities. There are some really simple changes you can make that will have a big effect.

Test the readability of a web page

This does what it says on the tin and in my brief testing, seems to be pretty accurate? Just give it a URL or paste in some text and you'll get a score out of 100 and an expected reading age for your content.

I should say that I found this on Scott Oakley's Content Design Toolkit Trello board, which is packed with things I know you'll enjoy.

Fourth Wall Content Podcast

Finally this week, I'm happy to share my pal Robert Mills' shiny new podcast! It's an interview show, but the idea is to really dig into a very specific audience. The first episode is a chat with Lauren Tormey from the University of Edinburgh about her work on improving the digital experience for student visa applicants.

Also, shh! Don't tell anyone, but there is a rumour going round that I might be on a future episode. Word is I may be talking about my experience writing guidance content for special guardians and other kinship families.

The test of good writing is whether you can convey to your readers exactly what you intend to convey.
Ernest Gowers

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