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The following pages list key accessibility concerns when creating digital content.

  • The Text page considers general concepts like readability and use of abbreviations.
  • The Semantic Elements page refers to items that are typically textual in nature, but that also provide essential structure and meaning to a page or document when used correctly.
  • The Media page refers to non-text content like images, audio tracks, or videos.

While the Formatting page is not included within the Content section, this is a key page you will want to reference when creating content. Most content management systems or documents allow you to customize various formatting aspects. This page may help you fix a default style that is inaccessible, or it may simply help you ensure that any formatting you add or change will be accessible.

Content Creation and Web Development

Web developers are the people creating websites with HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and various other web languages. This is a complicated process and requires considering many different aspects of web accessibility, including those specifically relevant to content creation. Content creator, on the other hand, refers to anyone who is making digital content, whether that involves creating a WordPress site or Canvas course, writing an email, or putting together a PowerPoint presentation. The primary concern for content creators is ensuring that the actual content (the substance) of their webpage or document is accessible. The guidelines included here are meant to provide a framework for this.

Document Editors and Content Management Systems

Content management systems are web applications for creating web content. These include sites like Canvas, WordPress, Omeka, Drupal, Wix, and any other tool that allows users to create, manage, and share web (HTML) content. Documents editors are applications for creating non-web digital content. These include Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.), the Google Suite (Docs, Sheets, etc.), and other miscellaneous editors for creating files like text files or PDFs.

Both documents and content management systems will be discussed further in their own sections, but there are a few key things for content creators to consider:

  1. Does the tool allow you to create accessible content? For example, the tool should allow you to add alternative text to images and should apply accessible default formatting to headings, paragraphs, tables, and other elements. 
  2. Does the tool create an accessible experience for readers? For example, WordPress allows you to choose from a wide variety of themes. While the chosen theme may not change how you create content, it may change what formatting is applied to that content, as well as the overall structure and design of the website. Some WordPress themes will allow you to create an accessible site, while others will not.
  3. If the tool has any accessibility issues, are you able to avoid or fix these? For example, a tool might set certain text to a color with insufficient contrast but allow you to modify that color relatively easily.
  4. Is the backend of the tool accessible? If you, as the content creator, do not have any specific accessibility needs, this may not be a huge concern, but if you are selecting a tool that others will be expected to use, this may be very important indeed. Many tools that allow creating accessible content are not necessarily accessible or fully accessible to use.