Liz Zadnik on Web accessibility and building an inclusive online space

Happy holiday weekend everyone!  I’m Liz Zadnik, AEA365 Outreach Coordinator with another post on accessibility – today we’ll be focusing on web accessibility.  We can build off of the concepts in last month’s post, while also thinking about how to make sure as many people as possible can access our online content.

In addition to creating accessible content in publications and written resources, we must also consider how these resources will be used and retrieved when posted online.  Web accessibility helps us keep in mind how people interact with the internet – whether they use assistive technologies, have limited knowledge or comfort with the Web, have various learning styles, or any number of other considerations.

Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web. Web accessibility also benefits others, including older people with changing abilities due to aging. Web Accessibility Initiative

Hot Tip:  Build into your content creation time and a plan for the creation of alternate formats for video or audio files.  For example, you interview a brilliant colleague who shares a new approach to collecting data.  The interview is about 15 minutes long and you post the audio file in a blog post with some accompanying background information, as well as an accessible PDF transcript of the interview to increase accessibility for folks who may be deaf or hard-of-hearing.  You could also post a Word document formatted with Styles.

Lesson Learned: For a long time I didn’t think too much about labeling images I uploaded to sites or used in resources.  I then learned how image labels assist folks using  screen readers to effectively navigate the Web.  This is where the “alt=[your description of the image]” tag comes into play.  This image tag assists visitors using screen readers in determining what’s on the site.  So if you’re image is intended to be a link to a great resource, tag it as “New Data Collection Guide link.”  If it’s an image that supports the content, such as a bar graph sharing data from a recent reader survey, tag it as “Horizontal bar graph with six bars.  One bar, the third from the bottom, is in a different color and has a sixty-four percent label in white at the end.”

Rad Resources:

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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