Accessibility in Writing

Accessibility considerations don’t begin with design and end with code. Authors, or content creators, can significantly impact the accessibility and usability of websites and other digital assets. The goal is to make your content easy to find and understand. Effective use of alt text, headers and plain language are among the key factors in making your content accessible to as many people as possible.

Getting Started — Key WCAG Success Criteria for Content Authors

Writing accessible content extends beyond just making everything on the page available as text. Accessible writing also impacts the way in which you organize content and guide the reader through a page. Several WCAG success criteria address accessible content development, and when implemented, make a significant impact on the user experience.

Use informative, unique page titles

Distinguish each page from every other page with a short title that describes its content. In the title, put the unique and most relevant information first.

WCAG Success Criterion 2.4.2
Headings convey meaning and structure

Use both headings and subheadings to provide an outline of the page content. Use short headings to group related paragraphs.

WCAG Success Criterion 2.4.6
Meaningful link text

Link text should include relevant information about the destination, describing the content of the link target. Avoid ambiguous text such as “read more,” or “click here.”

WCAG Success Criterion 2.4.4
Meaningful image alternative (alt text)

For non-decorative images, be sure your alt text describes the meaning of the photo or the function of the image.

WCAG Success Criterion 1.1.1
Provide transcripts and captions for multimedia

For audio-only content, be sure to provide a transcript. For audio and visual content, provide captions – including audio descriptions.

WCAG Success Criterion 1.2.2
Keep content clear and concise

Use simple language, including short, clear sentences and paragraphs. Use lists when possible and spell out acronyms on first use.

WCAG Success Criterion 3.1.5

More WCAG success criteria for content authors

Authors, Designers

1.1.1 Non-text Content


Make sure images and other non-text elements on your website are accessible by including meaningful text alternatives (alt text).


1.2.4 Captions (Live)


For all live video broadcasts real-time closed captions that identify speakers and include relevant sounds in the environment need to be provided.

Authors, Designers

1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics


Write clear instructions that incorporate multiple senses. No instructions should rely solely on the ability to perceive shape, size, visual location, orientation, or sound.

Authors, Designers

1.4.5 Images of Text


Don’t use images of text on your website except where absolutely necessary or for branding purposes, for example your logo.


2.4.2 Page Titled


Each webpage should have a unique and descriptive page title that lets the user know the topic or purpose of the page.

Authors, Developers

3.1.2 Language of Parts


If the language of a page or parts of a page is different from the default language of the website, the change needs to be indicated in the HTML code.


3.2.4 Consistent Identification


Page components (for example links, buttons and icons) that have the same functionality should be consistently identified with labels, names, and text alternatives throughout your website.