Content, as they say, is king. On websites, content provides a big chunk of what makes your site successful. Whether you are in charge of writing, producing videos or commissioning others to produce content on your site, the accessibility of your content should always be a priority.
No matter how compelling, entertaining or important your content is, if it excludes the growing number of Australians who have a disability by being inaccessible, you have lost a significant share of your audience.
Content on the web can exist in the form of text, audio, images, tables, graphs, videos or a combination of these. As a content author, your job is not only to oversee the production of these media types, but also to ensure the content can be accessed by as many people as possible.
The abundance of information on the web is also an opportunity for content authors to make this information accessible to people with a disability. Whether it's for a blind or vision impaired, Deaf or hearing impaired user or someone with a cognitive disability, there are numerous ways you can make content accessible.
Some of these techniques are provided by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0). Many of these, such as the use of jargon and abbreviations, follow the same principles you would apply to good web writing — perhaps with a little more consideration. Whether text or audio-visual material, content authors need to create accessible content or provide a means for turning content into an accessible form.
The Access iQ™ Content Author's Guide not only shows best practice for creating accessible web content but also helps you understand why it's important.
Adopting best practice in the initial planning stages will not only make it easier for developers and designers to implement accessible techniques; the success of your website's accessibility depends on it.
For example, if the content management system (CMS) developed for a site is deemed accessible but a content author uploads inaccessible content such as an image without the alt attribute, that part of the website will still be inaccessible.
To make informed decisions as a content author, you should approach all topics in the Content Author's Guide with usability and accessibility in mind, however some topics will require you to consult with the developer and designer on the best way to approach a technique.