We rely on the Stanford University IT Office of Digital Accessibility resources for guidance on accessible language. Be mindful of readers depending on screen readers or other assistive devices.
Describe images using alternative text (alt-text) or caption.
Be accurate, specific, and concise: use 125 characters or fewer, while providing a meaningful description of the image.
You don’t need to take up valuable characters with, “photo of,” or “image of.” Assistive technologies will announce when they are describing an image.
The Stanford University IT Office of Digital Accessibility has some great tips and more information on their Images page. Amy Leak has a good Medium article on the different applications of alt-text and captions.
Alt-text - Before: Photo of man in a room full of art supplies and tools.
Alt-text - After: Dr. Seuss faces forward in art studio
Caption: Dr. Seuss explains his painting methods
Use descriptive text for links. Never use “click here”. The purpose of the link should be obvious from the link text. The Stanford University IT Office of Digital Accessibility explains it well on their Hyperlinks page.
Before: Click here to find out more about our company.
After: Find out more on the Meet the Team page.
Use links as calls to action. When we want our readers to take action, convert, move to the next stage in the funnel, read the next blog post in a series, we use a link with a clear call-to-action. Tempt the reader by promising something new on the other side of the click. Calls-to-actions take the reader to a different piece of content. Use them anywhere where you want the reader to click.
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Use links as citations or sources. We use links to other sources for various reasons in online content. When we need to provide access to some information but hope that our readers won’t leave our page, we spell out the information in the link. Telling the reader what they’ll find behind the link makes clicking it redundant—a “don’t click me” link that keeps the reader on the page. Use citational links to back up a claim or offer background and context. They should not address readers directly.
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