How to make your blog accessible for the blind readers

I met a lot of blogger’s in last few years who often keep asking me the same question How to make our blog content accessible? I thought to answer the question over here. Most of the blog platforms out there are accessible but there are few ground rules if followed will make sure that your content is readable by visually challenged readers.

 

  1. Choose accessible blogging      platform
  2. Describe your images
  3. Avoid read more and click      here links
  4. Add widgets on the right hand      side
  5. Use appropriate font
  6. check if all forms have      labels

 

 

  1. Choose accessible blogging      platform

 

Choosing the right platform is the key factor in making your content accessible. I personally prefer wordpress as it is the most accessible platform both at the backend and frontend. I worked with joomla and drupal earlier but don’t prefer them as drupal confused me with its backend and navigational elements of joomla in the backend are not very much accessible.

 

Even people with visual impairment can easily signup at wordpress.com for the first time and can start blogging. So choose wordpress either self hosted or wordpress.com one.

 

Describe your images

 

Most frustrating part for any screen reader user while rereading a blog post is images without alternative text. For example you are explaining a story and put a picture and a scene of the story is understood by looking at the picture, how will a person with visual impairment will understand this? So add appropriate alternative text to all images, wordpress provides this option when you add pictures.

 

 

Tips for better alternative text

 

Keep the text brief.

If there is a graphic with words on it then add a text version of it.

If there is a creative picture then explain the picture, this way you create new content.

Avoid abbreviations.

 

Avoid Click Here and Read more

 

Often I find blog posts containing click here to know more or links that do not provide descriptive text. Avoid this methodology as it may confuse the screen reader user. Best practice is to provide with full text like “click here to download the software” or “read more about this technology”.

 

 

 

 

Add widgets on your right hand side

 

Screen readers read any web page from left to right so it is important for us to avoid adding any widgets that may confuse the user. In wordpress most widgets can be added in the left hand side, right hand side or in the footer area. If you are trying to present something valuable user then break the rule of using left hand side widget and please do mention the same by providing an accessibility policy.

 

Use proper fonts

 

Look and feel of a blog is dependent on the theme used so choose your themes carefully because apart from screen reader users there is a large portion of low vision users. Since browsers like internet explorer and Mozilla can zoom in and zoomout the text, test the font once it is chosen.

 

Check if all forms have labels

 

I often see that search area, comment forms and subscribe to blog forms lack proper labeling. Screen reader users cannot understand how to take action if the forms are not properly labeled.

 

Here is a sample of a text field that has been labeled correctly:

< label for=”email”>E-mail :</label> < input type=”text” name=”email” id=”email” size=”20″>

Note that the ID and LABEL FOR must be equal to the same value.

 

 

All these actions can be full filled easily if you got a blog on wordpress as it is the most accessible CMS platform. In my next post I will take you through a list of plug-ins that can make your wordpress more robust in terms of accessibility.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day GAAD 2013 in India

As part of Global accessibility awareness day on May 9th there are couple of events that are taking place in India, I want to draw the attention to these events so that product designers, web designers, marketers, developers etc can understand the pain points and create inclusive applications/products.

If you are some one who don’t know what is accessibility or thinking to venture into the field of accessibility these events will help you gain knowledge and help you connect with accessibility practitioners.

Global accessibility awareness day Bangalore GAAD 2013

This event is being held by Centre for Internet and Society. Check more details on the event page at

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2013 at PayPal India

Did you hear that May 9th will be Global Accessibility Awareness Day and a lot of events are being planned across the globe? Do you live in Chennai and want to celebrate? PayPal India Pvt Ltd invites you attend a panel discussion on “Building accessible web” on 9th May 2013 – 13:30 Hrs to 19:00 Hrs. for more information please check the event page at

A free webinar introducing digital accessibility directed at product managers, web developers, web designers, mobile app devs, and software testers organized by Barrier Break & NASSCOM Foundation timed locally for India

A three-day training session in Mumbai for students, diploma holders and graduates of computer science and related fields organized by the govt of Maharashtra and BarrierBreak

If you cannot make to the physical location of the event please do attend the webinar and yes do follow the twitter stream #gaad2013

Resources

About GAAD

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a community-driven effort whose goal is to focus one day to raise the profile of digital (web, software, mobile app/device, touch screen kiosk, etc.) accessibility and people with different disabilities.

Follow GAAD on Facebook:

Web Accessibility Resources

Hello,

When I spoke at the Indi SEO conference in Ahmadabad on the topic How Web accessibility and usability can improve your search rankings and conversions, I gave a deeper thought and decided to put a killer list of tools that can help any web master to check their web pages for accessibility issues.

web accessibility resources

Web Accessibility Testing Tools

Wave – Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool

Wave is a power full tool provided by Webaim.org, this online tools checks your web page for good and bad points and will provides a detailed web accessibility report.

Wave Firefox Toolbar Plug-in

If you are not interested to run web accessibility testing on online version of the Wave tool, you can use the Firefox plug-in and perform an accessibility check for each of the web page. This is mostly recommended as the online tool cannot perform the testing for password protected pages and dynamically generated pages.

FAE- Functional Accessibility Evaluator

FAE is also an online accessibility evaluator like wave… The Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE) analyzes web pages for markup that is consistent with the use of iCITA HTML Best Practices . This is built and managed by university of Illinois.

FAE – Functional Accessibility Evaluator Mozilla plug-in

FAE has got a Mozilla fire fox plug-in to check the accessibility of web pages that can help you test password protected and dynamically generated pages.

W3c Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools

World Wide Web consortium has a massive list of web accessibility tools. Please check when they are updated last and use with caution as some of them might be out of date.

Fangs Screen Reader Emulator for FireFox

I haven’t used this plug-in so can’t speak much about it now. Will run my own test and will provide my review soon. Here is a bit of description from the plug-in page, Fangs renders a text version of a web page similar to how a screen reader would read it. The ambition is to help developers understand how an assistive device would resent a website and thereby increase chances of finding accessibility issues early.

Color Checkers

I don’t have much experience using these tools as I am visually challenged my self and can’t comment much on the color contrast and visual design.

Color Contrast

Webaim color contrast checker

Check my colors – Color Contrast

Contrast Analyzer

Color Blindness

Color blind web page filter

Vischeck Color Blindness Simulator

Below links will help you find the authoring practices and more in depth knowledge on web accessibility.

Web accessibility and SEO go hand in hand

Web accessibility guidelines 2.0

WAI-ARIA authoring practices

How to add landmarks in your wordpress or web pages

Web Accessibility Blog by Rakesh

If all the following resources are read and implemented accordingly i can assure that you will achieve a mile stone in terms of creating a highly rich site which can bring you more leads and sales. If you come across any resources links and other things which might be interesting to share let me know in comments section and i will see to that it gets added .