In the 5th article in the series on helping business owners understand website accessibility I touch on tips for making your business website text content more accessible and inclusive.
7 website content tips:
- Break up your content into sections
- Text block width
- Sentence and paragraph length
- Text alignment & justification
- Sentence structure
- Font legibility
Break up your content into sections
Make your content easier to digest by breaking up a web page into sections with headings & subheadings. This helps your website user to quickly understand what they’re likely to learn and they can skip to sections that matter the most to them.
Text block width
Keep text blocks a maximum width of 80 characters where possible. Some users with vision disabilities or impairments may find it hard to keep their place if text blocks are too wide. Making them narrow helps users to keep their reading place.
If your website language uses glyphs e.g. Japanese, then the recommended character width for a text block is 40.
Sentence and paragraph length
Use short sentences and short paragraphs for your text content; Like with text block width above, this helps all website users to keep their reading place. Users with certain vision issues may choose to zoom in on a page or even resize their browser window in order to be able to read the text better – long sentences make it difficult to read in such cases.
Breaking copy into more paragraphs helps to keep the topic/objective of each paragraph focussed and also adds more whitespace to the page, helping prevent eye strain.
Text alignment and justification
Web copy that is justified makes the spacing between words uneven and harder to read. For most cases keep your copy either left or right aligned depending on the language in use.
Avoid the use of complex sentence structures; we live in a multi-cultural society and your users may come from many different backgrounds where your website language may not be their first language. Keeping sentences simple will help all users digest the meaning behind your content.
Avoid the use of jargon unless it is absolutely necessary for your audience. Keeping language simple helps everyone understand the content regardless of their familiarity of the language, culture or industry.
Likewise, avoid the use of cultural references where possible to be inclusive of as many users as possible.
Fonts/typefaces are an important part of a website, especially when part of the branding, however for content that’s meant to be consumed and understood it’s important to use fonts that are legible at any size e.g. Arial, Helvetica, Roboto to name a few.
And speaking of size, use a font size that is large enough to be legible when the site first loads e.g. 18px. Although modern browsers allow users to increase the font size or to zoom in on content to make it easier to read you wouldn’t want the majority of your users to have to take that extra step in order to read and understand your content.
Hopefully these tips can help you to ensure your website is accessible to as many of your visitors as possible.