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Use this checklist to ensure that your Word documents meet accessibility requirements.
Accessibility Checklist, Word 2016
Create headings by using built-in styles in Word.
Write short, concise headings that include keywords.
Write headings that give people good clues about the information that follows them.
Arrange headings in order – H3 headings under H2, H2 headings under H1, and so on.
Make sure each heading contains no more than 2-3 paragraphs of content.
Why is this important?
Most people just scan a page, so headings might be the only information that gets read.
Screen readers and text-to-speech tools are programmed to find Heading styles.
People are blind depend on headings for navigation.
People who have any reading issues depend on headings to:
Provide clues about the content
Organize content into groups of related ideas
Limit bursts of reading to a few paragraphs
Add Alt Text to images, diagrams, SmartArt, and tables.
Write Alt Text that describes what’s important in the image for this article.
If you included an image for visual emphasis or decoration, write “ “ (Double quote –space – double quote) in the Alt Text title and description. This tells screen reader software to skip over the image, and not describe it for a blind person.
If the image contains text, repeat the text exactly in the Alt Text description or adjacent content.
Screen readers read Alt Text out loud.
Alt Text is the only information that people who are blind have about images and diagrams.
Blind people depend on Alt Text to explain what the image or diagram communicates. Does it show how something works? Does it show important data?
Create lists (bulleted and numbered) by using built-in features in Word.
Insert a lead phrase or sentence to introduce the list.
Make lists that contain related items. If you have to, make more than one list
Use numbered lists if the order of items is important.
Screen readers and text-to-speech tools are programmed to understand lists that you create with the built-in features. This is especially important for nested lists.
People who use screen readers appreciate hearing that a list about to be read.
It’s easier to remember list items if they are related to one another.
Give every link meaningful display text.
Make sure the link display gives a clear idea of the destination and purpose of the link.
Avoid meaningless phrases such as Click here, and Learn more.
If a link does not have meaningful display text, then screen readers read the link URL one character at a time. This can be extremely difficult or impossible to follow while listening.
If you must use a phrase such as Click here, include some contextual information. For example, use “Click here to see our low sale prices,” or “Click here to try again.”
Check the destination site. If you can, learn its title and use that in the link display text.
Insert tables by using built-in features.
Use the Tab key to move through the table cells. Make sure the tab order of cells matches the table appearance.
Make sure that the table has one Header Row.
Add column labels in the Header Row that describe their contents.
Fix any merged or split cells in the table.
Screen readers and text-to-speech tools are programmed to understand how tables are organized, if you the table by using built-in features.
Some screen readers can repeat column labels on request. This can be very helpful on large tables with lots of data.
Screen readers keep track of their location in the table by counting table cells. If a cell is merged or split, then the screen reader loses count. It can’t provide helpful information to the listener any more.
Document as a whole
Save the file as a Word document (.docx).
Give the file a meaningful name.
Make sure the filename gives a clue about the document contents.
Add the author’s name and the document title to the document properties on the Word Backstage.
Meaningful file names help people locate the information that they want.
Some organizations put documents on web sites, and organize it by using information from the document properties. It’s a good idea to make sure your document is ready for this.
More tips for an accessible document
Minimize the use of character formats like italics and bold.
Avoid setting specific sizes because this removes the user’s ability to resize pages with application or browser functions like Zoom.
Use Left-aligned text whenever possible.
Centered (justified)d text creates uneven vertical lines that are very difficult for people with reading disabilities and people with low vision.
Strong contrast; but avoid using pure black text on a pure white background. if possible use a background that is not pure white.
Never use color alone to indicate information. People who are color-blind might not be able to see the point.
short, simple sentences.
Avoid abbreviations except when the abbreviation is part of common language, like USA or NASA.
Group related ideas under a heading
If possible, limit paragraphs to one idea
Check readability statistics
White space and background
Allow ample white space between lines and between paragraphs.
Clearly separate text and background d have about images and diagrams.