Is the term ‘accessible template’ an oxymoron? I’ve been pondering this question over recent weeks while working on various documents for a range of clients and realising that, while the end result of using an accessible template is an accessible document, the usability of the template itself is often lacking.
We all like to peruse a document in different ways, whether it’s simply reading from front cover to back cover, scanning a table of contents to pull out the pertinent sections, or hitting the executive summary and leaving things there. This is something we should remember when creating our documents as well, so adding as many navigation options as possible increases the ease of readability for all end users.
Accessible documents are a key part of any digital accessibility strategy and relatively quick and easy to implement. A question that we are frequently asked is “can I create accessible documents myself?” We all use Word and other standard programs every day, so it can’t be that hard. At first glance, creating accessible documents might seem to be within the reach of anybody with a bit of basic training, but it is very easy to become stuck in common accessibility problems with no way of knowing how to fix them.