Top common accessibility errors

Creating accessible content day-to-day is a behavioral change. You can better achieve the dream of everyone creating accessible content when they “want” vs. “have” to make the content accessible. The accessibility guidelines are vast and taking baby steps at a time is the way to go about it. I have put together the check list below to help those that are moving fast yet want to improve their content’s accessibility one thing at a time.

#1 Run automated checker on your content

This is the fastest step your teams can take to check for accessibility errors on the go. The automated tools help catch 25-30% accessibility errors in seconds. They also provide ways to fix those issues. As you and your team fix issues multiple times, you get used to it and then you know what to do (left-shift approach to accessibility)!

Outlook email, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.

In Microsoft (Office) 365 applications such as PowerPoint, Word, etc., simply navigate to “Review” tab in the menu ribbon and select “Check Accessibility”. Watch the tutorial video by Microsoft.

"Check Accessibility" under "Review" tab in menu ribbon in M365

An accessibility pane will appear. Review and fix each error and warning in the “inspection results” section as applicable until you see “no accessibility issues found” message.

PDF documents

The PDF documents are a bit complicated and need a bit of knowledge in accessibility. With Adobe Acrobat DC, you can automatically tag the document and then manually review and fix them to comply with accessibility requirements. There are various agencies available to help you with this task and it’s worth it especially if you are not much of a PDF editor.

Web pages

Several automated tools are available to test accessibility of web pages.

Accessibility Insights for Web is a free browser extension that helps you run automated checks using its feature called “FastPass” in seconds. Note again that we are talking about quick checks right now and automated testing is not sufficient for a fully accessible experience but rather it’s a baby step towards that behvioral change of thinking about accessibility.

Accessiblity Insights for Web Launch Pad

#2 Watch for these common accessibility errors

  1. Missing alt text: Every image needs to have descriptive text which conveys the meaning and context of a visual item in a digital setting. Learn more: WCAG 1.1.1.
  2. Minimum color contrast: Ensure minimum color contrast of 4.5:1 for regular size text or 3:1 for large text. Learn more: WCAG 1.4.3.
  3. Use of color: Ensure information can be consumed without relying on color alone. Learn more: WCAG 1.4.1.
  4. Incorrect heading structure: Ensure proper heading levels using appropriate tags (heading style in M365 apply correct tags h1, h2, h3, etc.) Learn more: WCAG 1.3.1.
  5. Descriptive links: Put hyperlinks on meaningful words instead of “here”, “learn more”, etc. Learn more: WCAG 2.4.4.

#3 Resources

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.