All my articles share a common trait…
They all refer to utilizing accessibility tools and following guidelines from W3C to help keep content available to an assistive reader or utilizing captioning or audio descriptions. But what about the actual content, that is the message itself that is being communicated?
Writing content can be somewhat difficult on its own depending on the subject and audience of course. Having a specific audience can make the task somewhat easier, depending on the nature and scope of the message that is being conveyed. What does this have to do with accessibility? Having clear-concise directives or messages is helpful when addressing various audiences, whether the individuals in the audience have an impairment or not; but it also helps assistive screen readers deliver a clearer message, by making the content much easier to follow.
Below I am offering some tips…
For creating accessible content, whether you are writing for customers, colleagues, or students, they apply to every type of writing.
Once the purpose is established, think about what information is deemed to be most important and prioritize. An orderly presentation wherein the common threads of the theme are connected, will be much easier to remember. When creating a document for example, prioritize by using header level changes to clearly denote structure.
Now evaluate the performance of the document; identify any gaps in information and ensure the overall structure is cohesive. Double check verbiage; a word that is benign when addressing a customer, may have an entirely different meaning to a co-worker or another industry professional. Be clear on context. When writing for an eLearning student for example, even a subtle shift in language can convey a different meaning. Take the word structure for example. A structured course would be one considered to be made up of individual learning objective modules, which are taken in sequential order. But when that word is used in a business setting, it can refer to an organizational flow of the work cycle. Same word, different meanings.
Finally, assess the content including infographics, videos, podcasts. Anything that supports the content, should also be accessible.