The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. This means it is illegal to exclude people from jobs or places of public accommodation because they have a disability. It also means website blogs and articles must be accessible to individuals with disabilities, using plugins like accessiBe WordPress, and others.
Here are eight best practices to help ensure that your blog posts and articles are accessible to everyone:
1. Make sure your site is responsive
People with disabilities, particularly blind or visually impaired, use assistive technologies like screen readers to navigate the web. Therefore, your website must be accessible to these technologies to ensure that everyone can access it.
You can test if assistive technologies are reading your blog posts and articles by using the free WordPress plugin called WP Accessibility. The WP Accessibility plugin provides a quick and easy way to test your site for common accessibility problems.
2. Make sure blog posts and articles are concise and clear
When writing blog posts and articles, avoid unnecessary or distracting information, such as excessive images or advertisements. This will make your content easier to follow and understand.
3. Describe images in the text of your blog posts and articles
People with poor vision, color deficiencies, or blindness use screen readers to read website blogs and articles. Screen readers cannot “read” pictures, so you must include descriptive information—a brief textual description adjacent to the image—for people with disabilities.
4. Don’t rely on color alone to convey information
People who are color blind often cannot differentiate between colors like red and green or blue and brown, making it difficult for them to read your blog posts and articles if they use color alone to convey information such as warning signs or labels. So when possible, add additional visual cues using different shapes, patterns, or text styles (e.g., boldface), especially in situations where a lack of color differentiation could pose a problem for users with poor vision.
5. Make sure links stand out from the surrounding text
Surround links (text or graphics) with visible borders that contrast sufficiently with the surrounding content so people who use screen readers can distinguish them from the non-link text. When using a link, also include the full URL so screen reader users can decide whether to visit it or not.
6. Make sure pages have titles
Every web page should have a title so that people with disabilities, search engine crawlers, and other software can better understand your content and determine its relevance to their needs. Additionally, search engines use page titles as one of the factors to rank websites in search results, making page titles an important element for SEO purposes.
7. Provide captions on videos
Video files must include displaying a transcript for those who cannot hear or understand audio narration. This is called “closed captioning.” A variety of file formats support closed captioning, and there are also free services that can convert existing videos into closed-captioned files.
8. Make forms and other interactive elements accessible and intuitive
Make sure people with disabilities can use your blog posts and articles when you add forms for user feedback or business transactions. Also, make sure any interactive features in your website—such as AJAX-powered live search boxes—are also accessible.