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We want our content to be accessible to the largest number of people possible.

Writing for accessibility goes beyond making everything on the page available as text. It also affects the way you organize content and guide readers through a page.

Learn about image accessibility.

Accessibility Basics

We aim to make our content accessible to anyone using a screen reader, keyboard navigation, or Braille interface, and to users of all cognitive capabilities.

As you write, consider the following:

  • Would this language make sense to someone who doesn't work for the district or colleges?
  • Could someone quickly scan this page and understand the material?
  • If someone can't see the colors, images, or video, is the message still clear?
  • Does this work on mobile devices as well as it works on desktop?

Avoid Directional Language

Avoid directional language that requires the user to see the layout or design of the page. This is helpful for many reasons, including layout changes on mobile.

Write like this Not like this
"Select from these options:" (then list the options below) "Select from the options in the right sidebar."

Use Headings and Subheadings

Headings should always be nested and consecutive. Never skip a heading level for stylistic reasons. The page title is always H1, top-level headings are H2, and subsequent headings inside those are H3, H4, and so on. Avoid excessive nesting.

Avoid Reliance on PDFs and Downloads

Wherever practical, include your content in the body of a page instead of linking to a Microsoft Word or PDF file. Ideally, almost all online text/image/media content is available right within the web page or email.

But sometimes we need to have users download a PDF or other file. If you do need to do so, be sure:

  • That the linked file is as accessible as it can be
  • To warn people within the link text if a link is to a download, such as a PDF

Making PDFs Accessible - Video Tutorial

Label Forms

Label form fields with clear names and use appropriate tags. Think carefully about what fields are necessary and which ones you mark as required. Label required fields clearly. The shorter the form, the better.

Use Descriptive Links

Links should provide information on the action or destination. Avoid "click here" or "learn more."

Use Plain Language

Write short sentences and use familiar words. Avoid buzzwords, jargon, and slang. If you use an abbreviation or acronym that people may not understand, explain what it means on first reference.

Use Alt Text

The alt text is the description of an image, and it should be included on all images. The description will depend on the purpose of the image.

  • If it's a creative photo or supports a story, describe the image in a brief caption.
  • If the image is serving a specific function, describe what's inside the image in detail. People who don't see the image should come away with the same information as if they had.
  • If you're sharing a chart or graph, include the data in the alt text so people have all the important information.

Each browser handles alt text differently. Supplement images with standard captions when possible.

Make Sure Closed Captioning is Available

Closed captioning or transcripts should be made available for all videos. The information presented in videos should also be available in other formats, such as a text description.

Be Mindful of Visual Elements

Images should not be the only method of communication, because images may not load or may not be seen. Avoid using images when the same information could be communicated in writing.