What are your best practices / hints/tips with regards to Accessibility?

(Shellianne Redding) #1

I am admittedly very passionate about accessibility. This topic is totally self-serving as a visually impaired (legally blind) user who just started my website a few months ago (www.rpsupport.org). My core audience are visually impaired / blind folks and I have built my site with the assumption that every user is accessing it using a screen reader or is pearing at it through a “tunnel” (like I do!)

Although I know what I need as a user, I am clueless about the coding/technicalities behind making my site accessible for others. I can go out there and spend hundreds of dollars and hours installing and configuring accessibility-ready word press themes and plugins, but without a technical background, I do not always understand what the automated accessibility reports mean, much less what to do about it. I am constantly researching and learning by reading documentation, watching videos (like those Joe Dalson) learning what makes a site accessible and tweaking my site within my skill level to appeal to the broadest audience possible.

I would love to hear from other CMs about what you are doing with regards to accessibility. How have you incorporated accessibility guidelines into your site? What tools do you use to test your site for accessibility? After you make accessibility-friendly changes to your site, how do you measure and report the impact it has on user experience? Any lessons learned or best practices you would suggest?

I probably have 20 more questions in my head, but I don’t want to be that annoying new user with a million questions (there is plenty of time later for me to annoy you all! LOL!) I guess I’m just hoping to open up a dialogue on the best way to address this complex topic. (Or maybe it’s not all that complex…maybe it just seems that way since I’m new!)

Looking forward to everyone’s responses! :smile:

(Sarah Hawk) #2

It is definitely a complex topic Shellianne, and I suspect you’ll find that it’s one that not many CMs have considered (I could be wrong… it’s not something that I’ve heard discussed often).

Accessibility is something that I’ve been giving thought to, but unfortunately I am somewhat hamstrung by platform limitations. I have done what I can here to follow the best practices that I have researched.

  • I’ve increased the base font size to 16pt
  • I’ve changed our background from white to paper-white to counteract glare
  • I’ve changed our text from black to dark grey (some sites recommend that as a better contrast option than black on white, but as you say @RPSupportOrg, some people have different preferences as far as this goes)

I’m sure there is a lot more that I could do, which is why I’m really grateful that you’ve started this thread.

I know that you were using a UX consultant for a recent launch @colleenyoung . Did you get any advice around accessibility?

(Shellianne Redding) #3

Hi Sarah,
Increasing the font size is definitely a huge Plus! I see so many sites with fonts that are so tiny, I can’t use them. As far as the text/background color, I would recommend staying away from grey text in any hue as it is much harder to see than black. Here is a very insightful article that explains why grey text of any hue can be oroblematic for those with low vision- http://www.nngroup.com/articles/low-contrast/

I have several other articles like this that I will gather up and post…I am so glad we are talking about this! :slight_smile:

(Colleen Young) #4

@RPSupportOrg oh am I glad to have you in this community. I need to think much more about accessibility. What a gift to us on Feverbee that you are viewing your site as if everyone is viewing through a screenreader! Because, we know many (most) UX and designers design sites assuming everyone has no accessibility issues.

I’m underinformed about accessibility and am trying to catch up. You’d think that working in communities in health I’d be more versed. Alas, better now than never, right?

In the community I’m working on right now, we have an accessibility expert/advocate on our External Advisory Board. She’s also a medical librarian. I will share her insights as I gather them. Another EAB member is colour blind, so he keeps me on track with use of colour.

Did you see the conversation @Hawk and I had about infinite scroll? I owe her a reply there.

Also I plan to host an #hcsmca chat about accessibility in social media. Are you on Twitter? I’m @colleen_young on Twitter.

(Sarah Hawk) #5

That conversation is behind our paywall in the subscription forums. I’m happy to distill it down out here if anyone is interested.

(Colleen Young) #6

Here’s a resource people may appreciate with respect to social media and accessibility http://www.queensu.ca/accessibility/how-info/social-media-accessibility.

(Shellianne Redding) #7

Hi @colleenyoung!
It is inspiring that you have already done so much with regards to accessibility! Simply talking about it is a huge step and you’ve gone even further than that by having EAB members who specialize in it. I followed you on Twitter. I am @RPSupportOrg on Twitter.

@HAWK, yes I would love to read more about the conversation about infinite scroll.

(Colleen Young) #8

Hi @RPSupportOrg and @hawk,

I have a few updates. On Wed Nov 11, #hcsmca’s twitter chat is going to be dedicated to accessibility and social media. I hope you can join us Shellianne. Nov 11 at 1pm Eastern time, which is 18:00 in the UK.

Hawk, today I’m came across this accessibility community Accessify Forum http://www.accessifyforum.com/#main that might be interesting to explore for multiple reasons. I’d love to have their community manager(s) join FeverBee, eh?

(Sarah Hawk) #9

Definitely! I’ll reach out. Nice work Colleen. :smile:

(Shellianne Redding) #10

I am there! I’ve been hibernating recently revamping my site so I am excited to get back on the accessibility track!!!

(Colleen Young) #11

Here’s the info about tomorrow’s #hcsmca Twitter chat: https://cyhealthcommunications.wordpress.com/2015/11/08/social-media-isnt-accessible-for-everyone-hcsmca-explores/

(Shellianne Redding) #12

Thank you! "-)

(Bas van Leeuwen) #13

Hey Shellianne,

Bit late to the party, but still :smile:

In my pre-cmgr career I once helped functionally design a site for a company that sells equipment for the visually impaired. That taught me a lot :smile:

Most important lesson for me:

  • If you stick to the WCAG you will most likely be good
  • It might be more trouble than it’s worth (sorry) to be 100% complicit
  • 85% is easily achieved though
  • you probably don’t need descriptions of every single illustration
  • you will stand head and shoulders out from the competition if you do reach 85%
  • it will make your site better overall
  • there is a huge (HUGE) overlap between accessibility and SEO
  • try using a screenreader for an hour, they’re free and it’s an enlightening experience


(Shellianne Redding) #14

Hi Bas,
I could not agree more! I have run Low Vision Support Group up against the accessibility checkers and was pleased to find our site is meeting AA Conformace. I have published the results of my accessibility tests on my accessibility page and I am hoping that others will do the same. It seems that there is no 100% compliant site, but I feel like in order to spread the word about accessibility, we need to start by being completely transparent. I would love to know if anyone else in the community is publishing their accessibility results or if I’m just crazy (quite possible!)

I’m so impressed that you use a screen reader too! I use a screen reader / magnifier (Zoom Text) 100% of the time (can’t see web without it). And you are RIGHT-it IS enlightening! It can also be totally annoying (yeah, I said it!) The screen reader is completely literal and I find myself constantly changing the voice settings as it can be distracting (to put it nicely). I would love to hear if anyone else uses a screen reader and what their experience is.

Shellianne :slight_smile:

(Mark Schwanke) #15

Congrats. I have a sister-in-law who works with web accessibility. If you need some more resources I can certainly dig something up for you.

WIth a previous site I ran our brand team did a big push to rebrand our site and change the CSS. They changed all the links to Red and this made accessibility issues come out of the wood work. I was glad our members reached out and gave me the data to be more accessibility focused. Certainly we can all do our part to be more proactive. Sometimes even if you don’t have the need there may be benefits to deliver solutions that help everyone.

There are also situational disabilities where you may be affected just temporarily. Certainly we’ll all be faced with disabilities as we age so being considerate of that is a great way to plan. Being inclusive is key.

(Shellianne Redding) #16

Hi Mark!
Thank you for the info. I am always looking for resources and would appreciate any / all you can dig up. Thank you! :smile:

(Mark Schwanke) #17

Okay I’ll see what I can get for you later this week while we have a Turkey Coma.


(Shellianne Redding) #18

Thank you Mark! Much appreciated. Happy Gobble day! :>

Sent from Outlook

(Colleen Young) #19

Another update for accessibility and resources thanks again to another online community, namely the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

We just implemented an accessible solution to replace the inaccessible infinite scroll. See the User-controlled scroll View More / View Less.

When announcing the improvement to the community, fellow member Chris Boyer shared these resources:

(Richard Millington) #20

This is really useful.

@HAWK - can we drop this information into the wiki for the future? I really like it.