Global Accessibility Awareness Day: 10 things everyone can do to improve access to media

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Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:32pm

To celebrate the third Global Accessibility Day, we have compiled a list of tips that everyone can use to make someone’s experience of media a little better. Accessibility is for all of us – it benefits everyone, and everyone can do their part.

Tip 1: Describe the images you put on Facebook

Adding a description to your image posts means that blind and vision impaired people aren’t excluded. This is particularly important for memes and any other images that include text. All it has to be is a sentence.

Tip 2: Make links meaningful

Link the words “More information about adopting puppies” instead of “click here”. Many screen reader users will navigate through a webpage by tabbing from link to link. A “click here” or “read more” doesn’t give any indication of where the link might go to.

Tip 3: Listen to audio description

Audio description provides access to videos and performances for people who are blind or vision impaired. Listening to it can be a revelation. Below is an audio described scene from The Hunger Games. A transcript of the audio description is available.

Tip 4: Transcribe your podcast

Transcription is easy and inexpensive. Transcripts are helpful for people who would rather read than listen, and help with search engine optimisation (Google can’t hear audio files). We have a list of transcription suppliers.

Tip 5: Set links to ‘open same tab’

Links that open in a different tab or window can be disorienting for screen reader users, and others. Users can easily navigate back to your website with the ‘back’ button.

Tip 6: Try a screen reader

Got an iPhone? Triple click the home button to turn on VoiceOver and experience how a blind person uses their phone.

Below is a demonstration [CC]

Tip 7: Caption your videos

Whether it’s on YouTube or Vimeo, captioning is easy to do on your own, no expense required. If you’re looking to get captioning done professionally, we have a list of captioning suppliers.

Tip 8: Help get audio described video online

Support this crowdfunding campaign to make the world’s first audio described video on demand service, Zagga.

Tip 9: Turn on captions in the classroom

Did you know that captions not only provide access, they also increase literacy outcomes? Our captions in schools campaign CAP THAT! is launching in a few weeks and we’re asking all Australian teachers to get on board.

Tip 10: Don’t just give people a PDF

PDFs are handy but they can be rife with accessibility problems. Information should always be provided on a webpage or Word document as well.

There’s a whole lot of Global Accessibility Awareness Day events going on world-over. We hope to see you at the ones in Sydney and Perth tonight. If you can’t attend an event you can get involved on the #GAAD hashtag on Twitter.

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