Marketing and Content Authoring Role Information

Marketing plays a critical role in digital accessibility, because many decisions about our digital products are driven by marketing. Whether it’s a new marketing campaign, a new mobile app, a webpage update, or an entirely new website, please keep accessibility in mind from the beginning of the project.

For the purposes of this website, Marketing also encompasses Content Authoring.

According to the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), the Marketing or Content Authoring role should:

  • Ensure content is produced in appropriate formats and using correct semantic elements, and provide text for alternatives.
  • Produce a site’s information content, equivalent alternatives for non-text content, and other general text elements presented in the pages

University of Minnesota’s Accessible U website has an entire training section for content creators.

Semantics versus Presentation

One of the most critical things that content authors can do is use semantic elements only for semantic purposes and never for presentation purposes.

An example of the mixup between semantics and presentation regards the use of Header tags, H1 through H6. Header tags define the hierarchy of information (similar to an outline) and are critical for the accessibility of a webpage, particularly to screen reader users. Header tags should never be used for visual styling — that is, to make words bigger, bolder, or in a different font. If you want to emphasize or enlarge text that should be done using other markup (such as <strong> or <em>) or using CSS (such as ‘font-size’), but never with header tags.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

Ideally, your content management system (CMS) will enforce proper differentiation between semantics and presentation and will also make it easy to create accessible content. Unfortunately, many CMSs are weak in these two areas. If you find yourself pasting marked-up code (HTML and CSS) into a text box in your CMS, please work with your front-end development team to ensure that code will result in accessible content.

TODO integrate this in

a11y First for CKEditor: Changing the way people think about creating online content. (2018, April 26.) Jon Gunderson, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. Incomprehensible title but this is basically a presentation talking about how to bake a11y into the content authoring process.

Slides (press spacebar if they appear blank)


WordPress best practices

Best practices

More WordPress articles – haven’t had time to integrate these in

Test for web accessibility–cms-30932


The Ultimate Guide to Accessibility and WordPress

Tenon research on best & worst CMS

TODO similar article for Drupal, AEM, others?

Accessibility as an Editorial Task

Corey Vilhauer, a user experience strategist at Blend Interactive, wrote a six-part series about web accessibility as an editorial task. (2018, April 18; Eating Elephant)


Mediacurrent article

TODO… IA’s advice

TODO… Level Access webinar series

Alt-Text, Calls to Action (CTAs), and ARIA Descriptions

TODO… flesh out this section.

Alt-Text guidelines – point to W3C’s flowchart

CTAs – shouldn’t just read ‘Learn More’ over and over

Learn More Links: You Can Do Better. Katie Sherwin. (2015, December 13.) Nielsen Norman Group. The phrase ‘Learn More’ is increasingly used as a crutch for link labels. But the text has poor information scent and is bad for accessibility. With a little effort, transform this filler copy into descriptive labels that help users confidently predict what the next page will be.

ARIA Descriptions – for anything that needs written text, the Marketing, Editorial, or Content Authoring team should be writing it, NOT the developers.


The humble hyperlink is the basic building block of the world wide web. To make hyperlinks more accessible and readable for all users, ensure they are descriptive and concise.

Accessible U (at the University of Minnesota) has an article on how to write good hyperlinks.