Web accessibility means that websites are designed and developed so that people with diverse disabilities can use them. While providing equal access, it also benefits people without disabilities by making the contents more understandable and easier to read for everyone. The LAB Open platform has been designed to meet the WCAG guidelines and standards. In addition, also the writers need to keep accessibility in mind, so that we can offer equal access to our published content to anyone interested.
Accessible text is basically a synonym to well-written text in general: it is understandable, well constructed and written for a chosen target group. Tips for a well-written text can be found in our Tips for writing -guide. Below you can find additional guidelines for making your text and images accessible.
- Use plain English
- Do not use words and phrases that people won’t recognise – or provide an explanation if you can’t avoid it
- Explain all abbreviations and acronyms, unless they are well known and in common use – for example UK, EU, VAT
- Use the introductory paragraph to explain the purpose and content of the article
- Use sub-headings to outline your text and make it more readable
- Make your sub-headings informative by using whole sentences instead of generic sub-headings such as “Introduction”
- Check the spelling
- Check readibilty by reading your text out loud
- Images and infographics are useful in elucidating the content of the text, but please do not add images for only decorative purposes
- Make sure that the information in images and figures are also available in text form, either in body text or as alt-text
Text alternatives (alt text)
By providing text alternatives (‘alt text’) for non-text content you make this content available to readers who can’t see the images. Alt text must be provided for all images, infographics and figures that can’t be analyzed with assistive technologies such as screen readers.
We strongly recommend that writers provide text alternatives for their images, as they know best how to describe their content.
- Alternative text isn’t visible in the published article, but is read by screen readers in place of images allowing the content and function of the image to be accessible to those with visual
or certain cognitive disabilities.
- Be succinct. This means the correct content (if there is content) and function (if there is a function) of the image should be presented as succinctly as is appropriate. Typically no more than a few words are necessary, though rarely a short sentence or two may be appropriate.
- Don’t start with the phrases “image of …” or “graphic of …” to describe the image. It is usually apparent to the user that it is an image.
- When using infographics to visualize information, begin the alt text with the word “infographic” and the shortly describe the topic and main content, with the mention that the content is discussed in more detail in the body text.
These guidelines are based on Understanding WCAG 2.1 and WebAIM: Alternative text. Both sites offer detailed instructions on accessibility.