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Purpose

It is important to ensure that your content is accessible to users with disabilities, particularly those who use assistive technologies, like screen readers, voice command software or switch devices. Screen readers, for example, rely on the correct use of <tags> in HTML code to denote elements such as headings, lists and tables. The text can then be converted into speech or read using a braille reader.

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These tips are mainly aimed at web editors using Drupal. A more detailed checklist covering other accessibility requirements and aimed at webmasters and web developers will be available here soon.

Alt text, hyperlinks and transcripts

For images that convey meaning, use alternative text to describe it to users with visual impairments. Alternative text should briefly describe the image's purpose or function. Each time you upload an image, object or other non-text element, you will be asked for an alt text description.

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To help you decide how an image should be labelled, use W3C’s alt text decision tree.

Hyperlink labels

Create clear link labels; don't use labels like 'Read more' or 'More information here'. It is not necessary to use the exact name of the linked‑to page as the link label. But be descriptive, so that when screen readers read out the label, users have enough information to decide whether to click on it. Be aware that screen readers can extract all the links in a page and list them for easy consultation and access, so you should aim for link labels that are meaningful out of context.

Video and audio

Create a transcript for videos with sound or dialogue (this will also help search engines indexing the content of the video and displaying it in the list of results). The transcript must describe all the audio, spoken dialogue, music and sound effects. It must also describe what the video shows. Likewise, create a transcript for audio content to make it more accessible for users with auditory disabilities.

Add the transcript to the web page with the video/audio on it (as HTML) or as an accessible PDF or RTF file. In the transcript file itself, add a link back to the web page with the video/audio on it, to help search engines find the page to which the transcript refers.

Headings, lists and tables

Headings

Aim for a logical, consistent and complete heading structure (with headings and sub-headings), organising the different blocks of content.

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Equally, you should not use headers only for visual purposes, as this is unhelpful for users of assistive technology.

Lists

Use lists, if appropriate, to help structure your content. Screen readers announce them and tell the user how many items they contain. Users can then read the list sequentially or navigate quickly through the items.

Use proper HTML code (do not create lists manually by indenting dashes, dots or any other character instead of bullet points) and never use them purely for visual layout.

Tables

Use the appropriate HTML tags for your tables. Do not forget to define the row and/or column headers using the editor tools or HTML mark-up. If you simply change the background colour of the cells, screen readers will not be able to connect the data in the cells with the corresponding headers.

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Avoid complex tables and merged cells. They can be confusing for screen reader users.

Contact and support

If you require further assistance, please contact:

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