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What Can You Do to Make A Document More Accessible for People with Disabilities?
I receive documents of all formats on a daily basis. In many cases, these documents could easily be made much more accessible for people with disabilities with very little effort. I put together a checklist you could run through when you are done editing your document. See how much of a difference you can make in a matter of minutes. Better yet, once you get used to doing it, it will become second nature.
- Spell-check your document. It not only enhances the quality of your work, but people with screen readers will not hear words they can't easily identify.
- Set the document language. People who use screen readers will hear your document in the language it was written.
- Describe all pictures. Not all people can see the pictures you have in your document, but you have surely put them there for a reason. It does not apply to decorative images, but describe anything which will enhance understanding your document.
- Make sure different sections are clearly separated. It makes a huge difference for people with cognitive disabilities, but makes it easy for anybody to quickly find information.
- If the document is large, use a table of contents. It helps people who have difficulties using the keyboard to quickly jump to a section, but again, it helps all people to quickly find information.
- When you use forms, make sure mandatory fields are not only indicated by color, also use "*" or the word "required".