Read time: 1 minute 30 seconds

Describe and present content in a way that all users can interpret and understand.

  • Why it's important

    • Briana has a lower technical literacy level. Briana needs a site’s layout to be clear.
    • Sebastián has low vision. Sebastián uses a screen reader to navigate the web.
    • Merindah has a newborn and attention is often divided. Merindah needs to be able to understand a site’s contents at a glance.
    • Darren is undergoing a crisis. Darren needs to quickly find the right advice.

Steps to take

  1. Read the Australian Government Content Guide on content structure.
  2. Write descriptive page titles. Users who use assistive technologies like screen readers may not be able to use visual cues to determine a page’s purpose. Make sure your page titles concisely convey each page’s focus.
  3. Make sure you have good heading structure. Headings are used for navigation by some users.
  4. Headings must clearly describe the topic or the following section. Use section headings to organise the content.
  5. Use clear row and column headings for tables. This makes it easier to understand tabular information and helps screen readers navigate tables.
  6. Use lists as they help users skim content.
  7. Indicate changes in language (for example, when including a foreign word in a predominantly English text). This will help people using screen readers, people with cognitive disability and people using braille translation software to fully understand your content.
  8. Determine whether the HTML document has a language attribute so that screen readers will read it with the correct accent and pronunciation. For example: <htmllang="en">. (If you’re not comfortable taking this step, feel free to ask a developer on your project team to help).
  9. Provide clear labels and instructions with forms. Labels must clearly describe the purpose of the form element.
  10. Use a screen reader or simulator to make sure you can land on controls and that they’re announcing things as they should.

Supporting resources

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

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Published by: Digital Citizen Services
Last update: 30 April 2019, first published

Content on this page published with acknowledgement.