For Content Creators

Who is a content creator? In the context of digital accessibility, a content creator is anyone writing, creating, and/or publishing digital content, including text, images, videos, and audio files.

Many employees at the College are content creators! Whether you’re managing your department’s website, uploading course materials to Blackboard, posting to your office’s Instagram account, or editing and then uploading a video to YouTube, you have a responsibility to make your content accessible.

There are many things you can and should do as a content creator to meet accessibility requirements. This list is not exhaustive—visit the Web Accessibility Initiative Tutorials site for more specific guidelines.


Tips and Key Issues

Images

All images should have meaningful alternative text. In general, images of text should not be used due to the difficulties this can pose to users on mobile devices, those with low vision, and those using screen readers. For example, while a content creator might want to upload an event poster, the event details must be included as part of the webpage text. The poster can be included as a design element, but the information contained in the poster should be created as text.

Videos

All embedded videos should include closed captions (per the Bowdoin Captioning Policy) at an accuracy rate equal to 99 percent or better.

Audio Files

All audio files should include transcripts (per the Bowdoin Captioning Policy).

PDFs

PDFs should not be used in lieu of creating web content for both accessibility and usability issues. This GOV.UK article describes many of the pitfalls of using PDFs instead of HTML content. If a PDF must be used, content creators should ensure that it is accessible. Doing so requires many of the other requirements listed on this page—alternative text on images, headings, etc.

Page Structure

Content creators should utilize headers appropriately, nesting them properly (i.e., even if you like the way an h4 looks on the website, you should not as a decorative element). Use headers hierarchically and attached to meaningful terms that would enable a user to tab through sections of your page. These headers can create a functional Table of Contents for your users.

Design

Most platforms have built-in styles, fonts, and colors selected by that platform's designer. Content creators should not override the CSS with inline styles to avoid color contrast problems and issues with resizing text.

Tables

If data tables are used, they must include the HTML structural markup outlined in the WCAG. Do not define cell widths to accommodate users who may need to resize text.

Meaningful Link Text

Avoid using “click here” or “read more” as link text; these common examples provide no context for a person using a speech-to-text device. Link text should be meaningful and indicate what the link is.

Avoid Sensory Characteristics

Because sensory descriptions relating to color, position, shape, etc. may not be meaningful to all users, do not rely on that information alone when identifying an element on your page.

Contact

Do you have questions about these accessibility concepts for content creators? Contact Juli Haugen or Jen Swanda.