Question: Do you have a guide for publishers (content managers) that explains the basics of accessibility, such as “what alt-text means”?
Answer: The Sitemorse website has many articles and videos about accessibility, including a video about alt text. Navigate to Sitemorse.com/support and browser through the articles and videos. You can narrow your browsing by selecting the tags, for example, accessibility or PDF. There is also a text search.
Question: How does Sitemorse help with PDFs?
Answer: One of the key services that Sitemorse delivers to clients is the Document Report. This report finds all the PDFs on your site and from these we create a report that includes the location of every PDF, accessibility issues with each PDF, PDFs with broken links, and PDFs that are duplicated in more than one place on your website. There is more detail about the Document Report in the Document Report article on our support site. Sitemorse has also run webinars about PDF accessibility. Our YouTube site has a recording of Pragmatic PDF Accessibility where we talk about the various approaches people are taking to addressing the accessibility of their PDFs as well as tips for publishers who create PDFs using MS Office products and Adobe Acrobat and InDesign. There are also many resources for PDFs on our support site.
Question: How detailed should the alt-text be for an image and particularly for images of charts containing a lot of graphical information.
Answer: Whenever I am trying to work out if I have provided all the essential information to people with a visual impairment, I use a web browser plugin that switches off all my images and displays the alt-text instead. I look at the page content and ask myself if all the essential information is still there. Another exercise I use is pretending I must describe the page content to someone over the phone. This way, I have a pretty good idea of how much alt-text (if any) I need to add. If I have a chart next to some long text and the text already describes all the essential information in the chart, then the chart is really just eye candy so I don’t need to describe all the details again in the alt-text (it’s also annoying with a screen reader if you have just had a long description in the article that is then repeated with the same long description in the chart alt-text). Also remember not to clutter your page with too much alt-text. I sometimes see every single image on a page with alt-text, even if the image is just a decorative line or a fancy margin. That is why the switch-off-all-the-images-test works well for me because it forces me to concentrate on the essential information and where I might be discriminating against someone with poor vision.
Question: We have hundreds of publishers who use our system to create content but most of them only create content occasionally. Should we add all these users, so they have a Sitemorse login?
Answer: If you have a managed service maintenance contract with Sitemorse and you want to add all those users it is possible, and Sitemorse Support can help you with that. We require the username, email address, which of your sites (in digital properties) you want them to access, and role (manager, editor, developer). We use the role to decide which type of email to send to which user whenever we run an assessment of your site. Before you start creating a big spreadsheet of users to send to us, consider if there might be a better way to do this. Most Sitemorse Clients have several sites or site sections in their digital properties and each of these is assessed on a weekly basis. Your publisher who wants access to the system might be receiving hundreds of emails they don’t want if they only publish content once a quarter. What some Sitemorse Clients choose to do is have individual logins for those publishers who use Sitemorse frequently and a team login for those who only need access to the system from time to time or when they (infrequently) publish some content.