5 Word Document Accessibility Tips

January 25, 2023
Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

The recent advancements in the digital world have changed the way of communication. We have come a long way from using traditional channels of communication to electronic ones. Our world revolves around digital devices. Now, the distribution of information also takes place electronically. And it has become necessary to create accessible content to ensure its global reach.

Accessible content and documents are the ones that even people with low vision or disabilities easily comprehend. So, businesses should ensure that their website publishes screen reader-friendly and color-blindness-friendly content.

It is simplest to make a document accessible when you first create it. You just need to follow a few steps to make your word document accessible. What are those steps? Keep reading to fetch all the answers.

Steer Clear Of Using Tables

People think that using tables to present the data makes it easy for the user to understand it. But this makes it challenging for people with disabilities to comprehend the data. Try using the paragraph format, including proper headlines and banners, to present the data and avoid using tables. People who use assistive technology like screen magnifiers find it difficult to read because tables limit the content to a specific size. This reduces the font size, and disabled users are forced to scroll horizontally, especially on mobile devices. Still, if you want to use tables, keep a few things in mind like –

Don’t use fixed-width tables.

Ensure that the tables are properly accessible on all devices, including tablets and smartphones.

Edit the link texts if you have hyperlinks in your table.

Using table headers can also simplify word document accessibility easily.

Try reading the document using the magnifier yourself. Send the document draft to yourself and see how it appears on the smartphone. It will ensure that people won’t have to horizontally scroll the document to access and read it.

Accessibility Checker

Accessibility checker is a tool of Microsoft Word that helps identify possible accessibility issues which disabled people may encounter. And solving such issues helps more people access your content. That is why it is always useful to provide document accessibility training to your employees to follow the accessibility guidelines and make the content easier to access than ever before. Open the ribbon in the word document, click review, and check accessibility. Now, click on the specific issue to find additional information and how to solve the issues.

Heading Structure

Heading is the first thing that the user sees when he first visits your website’s page. It makes it easy to search for information. Heading structure helps define a mental map of the content for the reader. Use a built-in header style to make your heading more appealing rather than using colors. Go to “home,” then click “Styles.” See what style you want to choose and then type your heading, or you can go vice versa (typing the heading and then choosing the style). Now it is time to see whether the outline looks good or not. To do that, open the navigation pane and select “headings” to find the headings in your document. Click “view” and then “outline” to see how the headings will look.

Color Contrast

Contrast is directly related to the readability of the document. It is advisable to use highly contrasting colors to enhance the readability of a document for everyone. Besides, carefully select the color by keeping accessibility in mind. Why is this so? Because nearly 9% of men and 0.5% of women have a certain level of color blindness. The readability of the content decreases if you use the wrong color combinations while creating the word document. Don’t use combinations that create difficulty for color-blind readers, like green and blue, red and green, blue and purple, and green and gray. You can use free tools like a color contrast analyzer to analyze the color and contrast to get the results of the displays immediately.

Descriptive Hyperlinks

Check if the hyperlinks have a text-based name associated with them whenever you create them. Ensure that the hyperlinks created convey clear information about the destination. Don’t click “click here,” “learn more,” or “see this page.” Also, try not to use the word “link,” as screen readers will announce “link” when they see a designated link. So, hyperlinks should make sense when you use them.

To Make A Long Story Short.

You don’t always have the perfect idea of who will read your content when creating the word document. So, it is important to keep accessibility in mind whenever you are creating content for your website. The above-mentioned steps will surely help you to make your word documents more accessible. Lastly, you will get the desired results.

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