Let's look at some tips for writing accessible webpages.
First, let's consider our audiences. Who often finds copy inaccessible? We need to keep people who use screenreaders in mind, as well as people who are not experienced with technical jargont. There are a few things we can always do to make sure everyone can access our copy.
1. Use a readability analyzer.
Making your copy more accessible will typically entail writing at or near an 8th-grade level. At this level, you know your copy won't be too technical for a general audience. Datayze has a simple readability analyzer. Just copy+paste your text and view your readability level.
2. Write well.
The Studio has a great list of copywriting best practices for accessibility. A lot of the elements of accessible text are also just elements of good copywriting.
For example, no all-caps, leetspeak, or unexpanded acronyms. Screenreaders will not translate these properly.
3. Understand HTML semantics.
Make sure your copy is organized well. Give it clear headings and organize it into meaningful chunks, each of which includes the most vital information closest to the top. Make sure your page titles match the <h1>.
This way, people using an F-shaped scanning pattern will understand your message.
Writing for accessibility is an element of good copywriting.
When you write, you need to keep your audience in mind.
Do you know what a scanning pattern is?
It's the way our eyes move across a webpage when we're reading it.
Our eyes don't move across a webpage thoroughly from left to right in the same way that they do when we're reading the page of a book.
Our brain has adapted the way we read webpages to glean information efficiently.
The Nielsen Norman Group has identified four major scanning patterns.
It's good to know the scanning patterns for copywriting so you can format your text to reach your readers. Most articles are best formatted under the assumption that the reader will be using an F-shaped, Layer-Cake, or Spotted scanning pattern.
What elements of each pattern have I incorporated into this blog post?