Blogs are not hard to make accessible with just a few pointers:
- The choice of Blog service is important. The rich text editor used to add content to make the web pages may not be accessible. This means that not all the menu items can be reached using a keyboard or screen reader. Check this by tabbing around the menus and ensuring that all options can be reached.
- Check to see if keyboard shortcuts are available. Some rich text editors offer keyboard shortcuts similar to those used in Word or any other word processor. These can be very useful to keyboard and screen reader users. Examples such as Ctrl+B for bold are common place but ways of making lists and adding images via the keyboard may not be so easy.
- Make sure it is possible to add alternative text to graphics when they are added to a page. If the graphics have words embedded in the picture, please explain these in the content as you will be unlikely to be able to add a long description elsewhere when using a rich text editor.
- Multimedia elements will require alternative formats. Examples of alternative formats are transcripts of audio presentations, text descriptions for graphical representations, captions for video and flash animations etc. Once again these may have to be part of the blog content.
- Make sure titles, headings and subheadings are clear. Good titles help search engines and users, headings and subheadings making scanning text easier and help screen reader users. Rich text editors have the appropriate features to allow these settings.
- Keep contrast levels and text sizes comfortable for all. Good contrast levels between text and the background colour as well as font sizes 10/12 and above make reading content easier.
- Use spell checkers and avoid overly complex language. There may be a spell checker within the rich text editor, but if not the use of Google Toolbar checker or add-on /built in browser spell checkers can be helpful. Cutting and pasting from a desktop word processor is also an option or try downloading Windows Live Writer, which acts as a desktop application that links to the blog automatically. ScribeFire, as an extension for all major browsers. offers a browser option for blog writing whilst surfing.
- Common Craft provide an online video about blogs and how they can be used.
- Successful Blogging – 8 steps and hints and tips.
- Accessibility and Blogs. Useful links and guides from the University of Texas at Austin.
- American Foundation for the Blind tips on how to make blogs accessible for blind users.
- BBC Ouch! – How accessible is your blog?
- Technorati is one of the largest sites about blogs and Blogger.com or WordPress are just two of many free places to put up your blog.
- Web2Access can be used to help decide which blogging tool to use, by analysing the accessibility of each service.
There is a very good video on the subject by Glenda Watson-Hyatt who uses discusses the subject under the title of The Left Thumb Blogger