Wednesday 9 Sep 2020

Write Releases? PRgloo's Guide to Accessible Content Writing

Write Releases? PRgloo's Guide to Accessible Content Writing: Accessibility

At PRgloo we're doing our bit to make sure our Newsrooms meet W3C WCAG2.1 AA compliance. However it takes two to tango (accessibility wise)!

If you are in the public sector, hopefully you will know all about the public sector accessibility deadline of September 23rd. There's more information available from the public sector accessibility campaign website. If you have a PRgloo newsroom, we'll make it compliant - but you will need to ensure that your content is up to scratch also. Here are some common errors which will lead you to fail accessibility standards. 

#1 Pictures: Be Descriptive or Be Non-Compliant

When you embed or attach an image into your press release, the name of that image matters. It matters because we take the name of that image and use this to create the "alt text". Alt Text or alternative text is the description of the image you've attached or embedded. It is what the screen reader will read out to someone with visual impairment.

So make sure that you either name your files with a proper description, or add this description to the "file name" within PRgloo. Good examples would be "Mary Jones MP standing by train in Waterloo station" or "Families in West Yorkshire enjoying a Picnic in West Park". The following image is labelled "Boy and Cat in Bathroom". 

Boy and Cat in Bathroom

Please note that embedding graphs or infographics as images will nearly always fail accessibility as there is no simply way to describe the information within the image. These are best attached as accessible PDF files. Please note: we also apply alt text to the icons shown for files and PDF documents so make sure ALL of your attachments are well labeled in PRgloo and things will be fine!  

There is some great advice available on alt text from Moz which will really help. Please also note that descriptive alt text also helps get your images picked up by Google. So it is a win win. 

#2 Do Not "Click Here"

It may sound counter-intuitive, but it is a massive no-no to have click here in a link. If you want to link to something then simply link the word that describes what you are linking to. There should be no verbs in your link. So for example: 

"Visit PRgloo today!" only the PRgloo element should be linked. Here's a fuller explanation of the do's and don'ts of links from the W3C website.  

And while we are on the subject of links, dead links are a big no-no so think twice before adding in lots of them - they may be hard to maintain. 

#3 Tell The World What You Are Doing in Your Accessibility Statement

The deadline does not mean that every page of your site has to be accessible by the 23rd September but it does mean you have to have a plan of action and you have to declare this plan in your accessibility statement. Publishing an accessibility statement is one of the things public sector organisations must do to meet the requirements of accessibility regulations. Here's a sample accessibility statement for a fictional public sector website to help you craft your own. 

#4 Use Your Head(ers) 

The above sub-title is called a header. We give you 4 sizes in PRgloo: extra large, large, medium and small. If you simply use one size throughout your release then you have nothing to worry about. If you use different sizes, then please make sure you use them logically, with the sizes cascading downwards and not skipping from Extra Large to Small and then back to Large. Think of them as indented bullet points: Start with one size and then go down in size one by one (and don't go back up again!  This totally messes with accessibility and is another real no-no. 

Call Us Today

To discuss any of the above, or to find out more about what we are doing to help you meet compliance, please give us a call today.