Writing for Accessibility.

We are continually striving to make our content increasingly accessible and valuable to as broad an audience as possible. Writing for accessibility involves so much more than merely making everything on the page available as text. There’s also the way you organize content and guide readers through a page. Depending on our audience and their country, there may be laws governing the level of accessibility required. At the very minimum, an accessible version of all content should be available. Writing for accessibility means considering users of all mental and physical capacities.


We write for a diverse audience of readers. These readers all interact with our content in different ways. Our goal is to make our content accessible to anyone using a Braille interface, keyboard navigation, or a screen reader. Again, we consider users of all cognitive abilities and write accordingly.

As you write, consider the following:

  • Would the language you’re using make sense to someone who doesn’t work here?
  • Could someone quickly scan what you’ve written and easily comprehend the material?
  • Is the message you’re sending clear to everyone, including those who can’t see colors, images, or videos?
  • Is the markup clean and structured? Can it be better?
  • Does this content work well with the accessibility features that are increasingly common on mobile devices?

Avoid directional language.

Part of writing for accessibility is making sure you avoid giving directional instructions. Stay away from any language that requires the reader to see the layout or design of the page. This is helpful for many reasons, including layout changes that occur on mobile devices.

  • Yes: “Select from these options:” (with the steps listed after the title)
  • No: “Select from the options in the right sidebar.”

Use alt text.

The alt tag is the most basic form of image description. It should be included in all images. The language will depend on the purpose of the image:

  • If it’s a creative photo or an item that supports a story, create a brief caption that describes the image.
  • If the image serves a specific function, describe in detail what’s inside the image. Someone who can’t see the image should walk away with the same information as someone who can see it.
  • If you’re sharing a chart or graph, include the alt text data, so people have all the necessary information they need.

Each browser handles alt tags differently, so supplement images with standard captions whenever it’s possible.

Make sure closed captioning is available.

Closed captioning or transcripts must be available for all videos. Whatever information you’ve presented in video format should also be available in other formats.

Be mindful of visual elements.

Create visuals that feature high contrast between the font and background colors. The tools available in the resources section should help with picking available colors.

Avoid using images as the primary form of communication. They may not load or may not be seen. If it’s possible to convey through writing the same information found in an image, go that route.