The most important part of any website is the content – if you’re not saying anything that matters, it doesn’t matter how you present it.
The next most important part is making sure that the important things you’re saying are understandable to your audience. In this sense, content can be complicated. We have to account for the voice and tone of the brand, the expectations of the audience, the audience’s education level (both in general and in the subject matter), and their skills and abilities with the language being presented.
Then there’s challenges we may not initially think about: is our reader dyslexic? Do they have Cognitive and Neurological Disabilities that make remembering things difficult? Do they have Visual Disabilities that limit the number of words they see on the screen at a time? Do they even see the screen?
When we write for the web, we write for all of our audience.
- Accessible Names
- Writing for Screen Readers
- How to Communicate with Someone who is Blind by MAB Community Services covers questions like “are blind people offended by asking them to ‘see this resource’?”
- Page Titles
- Page Headings
- iFrame Titles
- Accessible Text Labels for All by Sara Soueidan addresses text labels for eCommerce experiences
- Tagging text with no language by W3C for non-linguistic content like part numbers, or for times you don’t know what language the term is from.
- Making Numbers in Web Content Accessible by Ricky Onsman at TPGi
Icons and imagery
Audio and video content
- Readable is a readability test tool that can tell you what reading level you’re writing on, so you can gauge whether your audience will be able to understand what you’re writing.
- HTML 5 Outliner produces an outline of an HTML document to check for headings that are structured poorly.
- Plain language section of 18F’s guidelines
- Hidden Content by 18F
- What makes writing more readable? by The Pudding
- Identity-First Language by Lydia Brown at ASAN