Sunday, September 8, 2019

Heading Structure Guidance to Make Content Better & Accessible

Proper heading structure not only helps to make content accessible, it also helps to make content better for everyone. 

Here's why content is better with headings 

Structure

Headings allow those visiting your content to see the structure more easily. It allows screen readers to identify the structure and read it aloud.

Table of Contents

When you create proper heading structure, it automatically generates a table of contents that you can insert into your document.

Outline

When you use heading structure, in Google docs, it creates a handy, dandy outline view in your document.

Hyperlinks

In Google docs, every heading has its own hyperlink. This makes it super easy to link someone to a specific section of your content. 


Screenshot of this article in Google Docs showing the outline structure that results from headings.
This is what happens in Google Docs when using headings.

Heading basics

Heading 1

Heading 1 is the heading for the page. It often is also the title of the page and tells users what the page is about. 

Heading 2

Heading 2 helps organize content into sections. 

Heading 3 and beyond

Heading 3 down to heading 6 are subsections of the prior heading. A subsection of heading 2 would be heading 3. A subsection of heading 3 is heading 4. This goes all the way to heading 6. 

It’s important to keep your headings in chronological order. Never skip a heading.

Learn more about accessible content

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provide detailed information on how to create accessible content in a number of ways. Visit the guidelines to learn more about the guidelines in general or headings in particular.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Making Print Documents & Posters Accessible

Innovative educators often use print documents. This may occur when displaying posters, student work, or infographics on a wall or bulletin board. Another common reason for print is when information is handed out, mailed, or back packed home to families.  Usually this material is not accessible to all people including those with disabilities or who speak languages other than English, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Making Print Documents Accessible

People who need assistive technology to read materials--whether because of a disability or because of their needs for translation--have to have digital versions to use with their assistive technology.  For that reason, whenever you create something that's “for print,” you must:
  • Host a digitally, accessible copy of print documents somewhere such as on your website. 
  • Include a link to this document, or the website where it is hosted, on the printout you provide.

Formatting

The way you format a print document also affects how accessible it is. Consider creating a large print version of the content. This requires the document use:
  • Use large print with at least 18 point font
  • Use a sanserif font like Arial or Calibri
  • Use high contrast of at least 4:5:1

QR Codes

QR Codes are one way for people with disabilities to get from a printout to an equivalent web page. 
  • To generate a QR Code, visit your favorite QR Code generator. Pick one that won't expire. If you're not sure how, check out these tips and these instructions on how to generate a QR Code.
  • Once you provide a link, a code is generated that can be placed in a document, along with the phrase, Access a digital version of this < poster, flyer, etc> above the QR code.
Says: How to make a QR code then shows four QR codes: Generic, Facebook, Twitter, Google. The photo is from a video on how to make QR codes.
Don't know how to create a QR Code? Watch this video.

Alternative Experience

Keep in mind however, that QR codes may not be a preferred option for everyone. Your best option is to provide access to content in a variety of ways such as:
  • Braille copies of your print document
  • A large print version of the content
  • Have flash drive handy for digital download
  • Send the content to your audience digitally via email or text

Inaccessible Digital Platforms

There are still many digital platforms that are lagging behind in their ability to make accessible content. This is particularly true for publishing platforms that create content like brochures, flyers, and infographics.

Alternative Digital Content

The best option is always to generate original content on an accessible platform. If that is not possible, you must provide an alternate, accessible version of the content. This can be:
  • An accessible Word or Excel document
  • An accessible Google document
  • A webpage which contains all of the information provided by the inaccessible platform

Your Turn

What do you think? Is this something you have tried or would try? Do you have other ideas for making print material accessible? Anything missing?