Accessibility is an essential part of the web, and as a content editor, it's your responsibility to make sure the content you add is accessible for all users. As a bus operator, you correctly take accessibility of your buses very seriously - that same attention should be given to the information people require, whether through websites, apps or otherwise.
"Accessibility" refers to making content readable for users with disabilities, but in reality, by making content more accessible you improve the experience for all users as well as external sources such as Google (for SEO).
Like people, accessibility requirements come in all shapes and sizes. We take steps to make your websites more accessible for all sorts of requirements. One example is a user that can only use a keyboard and not a mouse, so we make the website as usable as possible with only a keyboard.
This guide specifically focuses on the content you can write and how it can benefit (or negatively impact) visually impaired users.
How visually impaired users see your website
Over two million people in the UK live with some form of sight loss (that's 1 in 30 people), according to the RNIB. Most of those use a screen reader to read their computers, phones, websites and apps.
For more examples, take a look at these videos:
Advice on how to improve accessibility
Linking to other pages or websites
Linking to other pages is the cornerstone of the web, and we encourage linking to relevant content whether on your site or external if it helps users.
However, the text that describes a link must help people find it. Saying "click here" for a link is not useful.
For more information about our fares, click here.
In the bad example above, 'click here' is not descriptive. The link should have text that helps the user to understand where the link will take them.
As a note, the majority of all users will be on their phones, so the verb 'click' is largely pointless. Try not to imply any action or verb. Also, 'click here' is a really small link for people to click on with a mouse or tap with their finger - you can make a link really long if that's what is needed.
For more information about our fares, take a look at our Fares & Tickets hub.
In the good example above, "take a look at our Fares & Tickets hub." tells the customer exactly where the link will take them. It is also easier to use because it has a larger interaction area.
For visually impaired users, descriptive links (as shown in the good example above) are essential. Screen readers can be used to scan for links on the page. If all those results are only read out as "click here" this can cause frustration for the user and requires them to slow down their experiences and get further context for each link.
Headings are really important in helping to structure the content of a page. How hard would a book be to read if you didn't know what the title was, or what the chapter names were?
When editing a page you can use the editor to assign different levels of heading, with 2 being the highest/largest. We reserve Heading 1 size for the title of the page. Headings with an equal or higher rank start a new section, headings with a lower rank start new subsections that are part of the higher-ranked section.
Use headings to structure your content based on the ranking of the heading, not based on the size or visual appeal.
A user using a screen reader may choose to navigate a long page simply by jumping between headers and then reading the content within each section.
Headings are also picked up by Google to help understand the structure of the page.
Images help convey your marketing information or give extra context to a page. Wherever possible you must not put text directly on an image, as this is not readable by screen reader users, Google, or users who have images turned off.
For more information on this, check our guide on using images on the web, which includes advice on uploading images and describing them.
Sadly, the majority of the web is hard to use for users that require accessibility. By making the effort to make your website content easy to use, you help people get on with their day and you'll stand out for making the effort. People appreciate the effort a driver takes to help a wheelchair user board a bus, and the same appreciation will be given for well thought out content.
By taking the time to help disabled users, you also help all users. Well written content with clear links and well-structured headings help everyone.