As a person privileged with sight, hearing and other abilities, I often mindlessly view the world through my able-bodied lens. The great content designer Sarah Richards taught me to be more considerate.
In 2019, I went on leave from UC Davis to work with Sarah as well as a fantastic team of civil servants and technologists. We collaborated to envision a more user-friendly CA.gov for the State of California.
That project and its lessons helped me to bring accessible content into our redesign of ucdavis.edu in 2021. I can share a few insights with you.
Tips for accessibility
- Use frequent subheadings. They will make your content more digestible. Screen-readers can skip from subhead to subhead and give listeners a preview of each section. Subheadings can also help readers with different sight abilities to see the gist of the page.
- Write clearly and simply. Brief sentences are accessible for readers of all abilities. You can check your readability with the help of a tool such as the Hemingway App.
- Use the active voice. It makes your sentences easier to read. Plus, you take ownership of your actions. For example, instead of saying, “Mistakes were made,” you could say, “I made mistakes.”
I made mistakes before I understood web accessibility, and I still do. But I’m always trying to do better.