Boost Your Business By Publishing Accessible Web Content

Kimberly Hulbert November 8, 2019
In today’s web publishing world, accessibility is becoming a requirement. This is especially true in the educational publishing world which caters to students with a wide range of physical and cognitive needs. Knowing that most clients will insist upon accessible digital materials, it only makes sense to create “born accessible” content—that is, designed from the start to be universally accessible.   
“Born Accessible” Content Lowers Costs and Opens Doors to New Customers
Creating accessible content may seem like an onerous challenge, but in reality, it’s simpler (and less expensive) to design accessible materials than it is to retrofit existing content. What’s more, image tagging and alt text increase your site’s visibility, making it easier to discover through organic search. And building accessibility into your web content through well-structured content and metadata improves rendering for multiple formats and platforms, including HTML5 and ePub. But these accessibility updates are just the tip of the iceberg. That’s because “born accessible” content provides publishers with the means to reach and sell to a much broader set of customers.  How much broader? According to the site W3.org, “At least one billion people – 15% of the world’s population – have a recognized disability.” Digileaders.com says: “It’s estimated that disabled people and their families in the UK spend at least £249 billion every year, which is known as the UK Purple Pound. The global estimate is $6 trillion, which is equivalent to a market the size of China.” These numbers don’t include older adults who may have increasing difficulty with seeing or manipulating small images on the screen – a fast-growing demographic.  
How Accessible Web Content Can Change the World for the Better
Not only does accessible web content makes good business sense, but it is also the right thing to do. The same technologies and guidelines that improve access to materials for people with visual, hearing, mobility, perceptual and cognitive limitations, or who face other barriers to reading printed materials, can also be tremendously useful to all customers. Alt text makes it easier to find and quickly sort through images. Video transcripts allow customers to quickly access key information.  Simplified, accessible design makes it possible for people with relatively minor challenges such as arthritis or dyslexia to find the information they need and take action rapidly and accurately. In short, designing your content for optimal accessibility is a way to take an ethical stance – and change the world for the better.  
Section 508 and WCAG Compliance Tips
Once you make the decision to ensure that your web content is accessible, you’ll need to comply with Section 508 and WCAG standards. That means you’ll be building accessibility into your publishing workflow through checklists that include following checkpoints:
  • Page Title
  • Frame title defined
  • Alt text for the Images
  • Proper structure and tagging within the content
  • Page Language is defined
  • Language of Parts
  • Landmark
  • Tab Index
  • Color contrast Ratio
  • Color alone is not used to convey information
  • Zoom & Resize 
  • Decorative Images have alt “” defined 
  • Audio – Audio, Play/Pause, Transcript, Speed control
  • Video – Play/Pause, speed control, Transcript, Captions, Audio description
  • Heading level is defined
  • Focus order and Tab order
  • Keyboard accessibility – Visible Keyboard Focus
  • Aria Labels and Aria Roles are defined
  • Options for expanding print size and accessing audio text and written transcripts
  • Reviews of content and metadata to be sure it’s clear and easy to find
Accessibility isn’t beyond the reach of even small web publishers, but it can be complex. Whether you’re seeking accessibility consulting, design, or remediation, MagicEdtech has the tools, resources, and experts you need.  
Kimberly Hulbert

Kimberly Hulbert joined Magic EdTech this year and is responsible for content and technical engineering business development. With over 20 years in educational technology, some of the roles she's held were at Certica Solutions, dataMetrics Software, Pokémon and Kaplan.