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Librarian Accessibility Guide: Text & Style

Text Tips

Keep it Brief

While most students will be able to skim your text, a visually impaired student will have to suffer through every word. Keeping your narrative brief serves all of your online visitors, while also limiting the need to scroll, which can cause problems for students with mobility issues.

Avoid Acronyms

While a sighted user can guess that an acronym is an acronym based on the capitalization, a screenreader will attempt to to voice it as a word. For example, a screenreader will interpret ILL as being ill (sickly). Avoiding acronyms not only ensures that the visually impaired user knows you are referring to Interlibrary Loan, it makes your site more usable for all visitors who may not be familiar with library terminology.

Feature Bulleted/Numbered Lists

Instead of writing lengthy narrative, use lists to keep your writing concise & to allow the user to skim for key points.

Use Headings

Instead of using the visual editor to enlarge the font-size of text that you want to "stand out" (for example, when you are changing ideas or categories of text), use "Headings" (h1, h2, h3 etc) to increase the size. In addition to making the font larger, screen readers and keyboard commands will allow visitors to "skip ahead" to the relevant content area.

Screenshot of adding a headings tag

Font Color & Sizes

Regardless of your personal preferences, the font styles & colors that you use should be uniform with your library's other guides. A few words of cautionary advice:

  • One font style per page! It is distracting to see multiple fonts on the same page, so be careful when copying & pasting.
  • Avoid "fancy fonts" that are difficult to read.
  • Limit the amount of bold, italics, or highlighting that you do--not only is it distracting, it also defeats the purpose of emphasizing "important" text (if everything is highlighted, then nothing is...).
  • Avoid using too many colors on a page; in addition to looking garish, it reduces your credibility. Stick to one primary color & utilize only one or two other complementary colors for emphasis.
  • Avoid light-colors that will induce eye strain & make it difficult to read the text.
  • When emphasizing text or including links, be considerate of color-blind users who may not be able to tell the difference. Make sure that instructions do not rely on being able to tell the difference between colors (avoid stating things like "click the green button). See the article "Can Color-Blind Users See Your Site for more information.

What Not to Do...

Repeating text of blah, blah, blah.

 

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