Tag Archives: images

Best Practices in WordPress Accessibility Design

Accessibility word cloud

Web accessibility word cloud / itjil / CC BY 2.0


Designing for accessibility means that you end up with a site that is clear and helpful to everyone.

More information on Universal Design in higher education


  • Background images or colors should be subtle.
  • Make sure that colors used are high contrast. Try to use light backgrounds with dark fonts. Don’t use red and green together.
  • Try testing your site here: http://graybit.com/main.php

Web Style Guide: Visual Design


  • Allow ample white space
  • Use sans-serif fonts

Improving Accessibility Through Typography
Font Accessibility

Content Organization and Markup:


image alt text

Include short descriptive alt text for all images! This is the most common accessibility error. Use the description field for complex pictures or charts.

WebAIM has a guide for appropriate uses of alternative text.



Closed caption logoIf you are embedding or linking to video, be sure that it is captioned and it can be controlled through keyboard commands. YouTube can be controlled by keyboard commands. Median cannot yet (other than the space bar to play/pause), but captions and keyboard commands are a requested feature for future updates.

To learn more: YouTube captioning

YouTube keyboard accessibility



screenshot of formatting buttons in wordpress

  • Use the visual editor as much as possible to organize your content. The BOLD, ITALICS, LIST, UNDERLINE and BLOCKQUOTE buttons will take care of making sure that the html is accessible to screen readers.
  • Similarly, instead of messing around with font size and style to create emphasis, use the built in styles: HEADING 1, HEADING 2, HEADING 3, etc. The theme you have chosen will take care of the font choice and size, but using these buttons will make sure that your content is properly marked up for screen readers.
  • Always use heading structures to aid in navigation
  • Structure, color, font sizes should be consistent across pages

Best Practices for Accessible Content



  • Your link names should be as descriptive as possible in case they are read out of context. “IMDB list of documentaries released in 2010 (opens in new window)” is better than “Click Here”.
  • Note when when you’re directing to a non-html resource: “Survey results (PDF)”

Accessible Links


PDFs, Word documents, and PowerPoints:

  • You can upload these to WordPress, and then link to them from your blog post. When a viewer clicks on the link, they will most likely download the file (though some browsers will open PDFs within the browser window). Make sure that the documents themselves are accessible!

PDF accessibility
Microsoft Word accessibility
PowerPoint accessibility



Search beyond Google: using visual search engine Spezify to discover new media

How do you normally search? You may visit Google.com, type in a few key words, and click to the appropriate category (images, news, videos). This works well when you know what single kind of media you’re looking for, but what if you’re not sure what you need and don’t have time to comb through pages of results? You may want to try a new contender in the search market: Spezify. The company defines itself succinctly as “a search tool presenting results from a large number of websites in different visual ways.”
As you can see from the images below, entering the same search terms into the two sites yields vastly different results.
screenshot of google searchWhile Google has a very literal approach and gives the most popular results for your search term, Spezify has a different method of sorting its results and uses a number of different information sources (such as YouTube, Twitter, and blogs) to create a visual grid that can illustrate the topic you are researching in a fun and engaging way.
Spezify search results for Emerson College yields rich audio, video, and social content
You may find that suggesting Spezify as an alternative search engine gives students additional motivation and insight when they need to search for information on the Web.