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Global Accessibility Awareness Day – Is Your Content Accessible?

May 19 was Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). Now in its 11th year, GAAD strives to highlight accessibility and inclusion. It’s both a means of cheering forward strides and helping everyone in the global community become better aware of the ways in which online spaces are often inaccessible for the estimated 1 billion people worldwide with disabilities. To spread awareness, we’ve put together a round-up of some of the most common ways online content can fail accessibility checks. Don’t worry, we’ve also included easy ways to fix them.

There’s a common misconception that making something accessible is expensive, difficult, time-consuming, or all three. But it doesn’t have to be if you know what to look for, and build accessibility into your content from the beginning. So what makes an online space accessible? Read on.

Readability

fingers typing at braille keyboard

It should come as no surprise that if your content’s text isn’t readable, it will fail as an accessible website. This includes ensuring your text can be easily read and makes sense with a screen reader. Other things to be mindful of: the amount of clutter onscreen, proper text color contrasts, and clear language and sentence structure.

Navigable

If your content requires the use of the mouse to move between different components, options, or features, it’s leaving out those who rely on keyboard commands to navigate. It’s also important to keep the navigation structure consistent. If some parts of your content are navigable via keyboard commands but other parts of it are not, it’s still not fully accessible.

Captioning

If you have video content, it should be accessible for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. If your video content is simply re-speaking text that appears on the video, as with some instructional or informational videos, it may already pass this test. But most videos will need an additional means of making the content accessible, either via captions, a transcript, or both.

Increasing your accessibility can also help your content reach a wider audience. Captions and transcripts can help video content with SEO, while sites that are easy to view are more likely to be used and shared, and your message is more likely to reach more people. But at the end of the day (Global Accessibility Awareness Day!), answering the question of whether your content is accessible is the first step toward making your content more accessible. And making sure your content is more accessible is the right thing to do, and helps to build a more inclusive world.

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