WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines for content writers in 10 easy lessons

Most knowledge workers are likely to write content for web sites or intranets from time to time. Subject experts in every field publish directly online. And all that content has to be accessible, for so many reasons.

Intranet content must also be accessible: staff are citizens too!

Problems, problems. How are these non-technical people going to make their own web content accessible? The decentralised style of web publishing means it's no longer reasonable to expect the web team to clean up after the writers have written. (If it ever was.)

Well known chicken-and-egg facts about knowledge workers who write web content:

  • Content writers are not necessarily adept with technology.
  • WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines are written for ICT practitioners, not writers.
  • Writers aren't likely to comply with guidelines they don't understand.
  • But certain accessibility guidelines require writers to understand and follow them: it's their responsibility.

It's a vicious circle, an infinite Escher loop, a Gordian knot: reluctant learners thwarted by guidelines that might as well have been written in Klingon, from their point of view.

"Text alternatives are a primary way for making information accessible because they can be rendered through any sensory modality..."

"The human language of each passage or phrase in the content can be programmatically determined except for proper names..."

ICT staff can't and shouldn't be responsible for all compliance. And while the current WCAG 2.0 guidelines are easier to understand than WCAG 1.0, the ones that apply to writers need interpreting.

So I guess that's a job for us. We'll run a series of blog posts dedicated to this topic, starting next week.



Mar 11, 2010 • Posted by Nic

Oh, yeah. It’s just that… “Plain English”, it’s not!

Mar 11, 2010 • Posted by Nic

I look forward to these series of posts. It is an important topic.

I’m not too sure, however, that WCAG 2.0 guidelines are easier to understand than WCAG 1.0. Not gonna argue the toss though ;)

Mar 11, 2010 • Posted by rachel

I think they’re more focused on the result for users, and less on the specific technology (which is a moving target anyway).

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