Informational

How to Save Money on Remediating WCAG Documents

Following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is essential for any organization. Making your digital documents WCAG compliant is part of that.

Luckily, having professionals make your digital documents accessible to people with disabilities doesn’t have to break the bank. Instead, you can take steps to lower the cost of making your documents WCAG accessible.

Avoid elaborate fonts.

When creating your source documents, one of the most important things you should consider is that “pretty” doesn’t always go well with accessibility. Fancy fonts and fun colors can be eye-catching for some but cause people with visual and cognitive disabilities to miss important information.

Instead, use common sans serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, and Veranda. These fonts are clean and simple, without lines or embellishments extending beyond the core letters. The simplicity makes the font easier to read.

Avoid tiny fonts.

Small font sizes can cause eye strain even for people without vision challenges.

Instead of cramming in as much tiny text as possible, use at least a 12 point font for standard text. Also, make sure headings use a larger font size than your standard text, so they stand out.

Avoid excessive font emphasis.

You have important content that everyone needs to read. It’s tempting to UTILIZE ALL CAPS, italics, or underline several words, but it’s best to avoid these tactics. Lowercase letters are easier to read, so all caps make your wording challenging to consume. Italics cause letters to run together and “lean” on each other. Excessive underlining makes certain letters difficult to read because they’re obscured by the line.

Instead, emphasize words or short phrases with a bold font. It adds just enough emphasis to stand out while allowing the letters to be easily read.

Avoid similar font and background colors.

We’ve all tried to read the slightly darker blue text on the blue background. But, for many people with color blindness or low vision, the font and background become indistinguishable.

Instead, opt for a font color with high contrast to the background color. Black text on a white background is ideal, but you can get away with color as long as your text color has a 4.5:1 color contrast ratio against the background.

Avoid color as the only method of relaying information.

We’ve all seen pie charts, line graphs, and other informative images that utilize a key to tell you what the colors mean. We’ve also seen the dreaded “required fields are in red” note at the beginning of a form. Unfortunately, these colors may look the same for people with color blindness or low vision, and the information becomes useless.

Instead, add another factor like texture, symbols, or labels to your graphs and charts. This simple addition allows everyone the opportunity to fully understand what you’re hoping to convey.

Want to take your accessibility efforts to the next level? Include your chart or graphs information in an easy-to-read table too. This provides your reader both visualization and text breakdown of your information.

Avoid acronyms and jargon.

Jargon and acronyms are a great way to get your point across quickly. But, they often exclude people who are new or trying to learn about your industry.

Instead, use the jargon’s definition and spell out your acronyms so people who aren’t industry insiders can follow along. If you find you can’t write your material without using acronyms or uncommon terms, include a definition of the jargon or complete spelling of the acronym the first time you use it. This gives people a chance to learn more about what you’re talking about and refer back to later if they’re forgotten.

Avoid complex tables.

It’s tempting to merge cells and eliminate gridlines for a sleek and stylish look. But, doing this makes it much harder for people using a screen reader or other assistive technology to understand the information.

Instead, keep tables simple. If you want to merge cells for a new heading or section, break the table up by inserting the merged content on a new line.

Also, adding color to your table’s lines – even if it’s the same color as the background – gives the lines a color code. Those color codes allow the grid to be identified, making the tagging process easier and, therefore, less expensive.

Pro tip: If you want the table’s lines to be visible, make sure they have a minimum color contrast ratio of 3:1.

But wait, there’s more!

These are a few of the most common ways we help people save money on their WCAG document remediation.

Want to learn more ways to keep your accessible PDF costs down? Reach out to us today to learn how.

Jessica Sanders

Jessica Sanders has been in the document accessibility world for over a decade. Early in her career, she worked hands-on transcribing standard print into accessible formats like braille, large print, and audio and even helped Braille Works in their transition to Unified English Braille (UEB). After more than 5 years in transcription, Jessica decided it was time for a change and transitioned to Braille Works' marketing team. She now spends her time educating the world on the critical need for accessible documents.

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