Accessibility for content creators

Writing for accessibility is important at TELUS. This ensures all customers, team members and audiences, regardless of ability or environment, can easily use a product or service. Accessibility is a legal requirement, mandated by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Writing accessible content

Content creators are responsible for providing logically structured content in plain language, as well as providing alternative text for images. This allows for an accessible end-to-end experience for our customers and team members.

Learn more about various tools and tips to help you craft content:

Structured content

Structuring content in a logical order ensures TELUS customers have a clear and consistent experience. Assistive technology and screen readers follow the natural flow of a web page. The pages should flow in a way that makes sense to all readers and applications reviewing the page.

When structuring your content:

  • Put the most important information upfront

  • Create a content hierarchy with headers, sections, and bullets

  • For structuring reasons do not skip headings:

    • Page title is H1 which describes the pages main topic

    • Top level section is H2

    • Subsequent sections are H3 and so on. (rarely exceeding H4 and never H6)

  • Make sure your content blocks are concise and include all relevant user information

  • Work closely with your designer to make the content structure clear

Plain language

Keeping things simple with plain language benefits all users. When reading TELUS content all users should be able to find what they need, understand where they are and know how to complete a transaction.

Here are a few strategies to keep your content easy to understand:

  • Use short sentences

  • Avoid using jargon or slang

  • Explain acronyms and abbreviations on its first reference

  • Avoid using directional language such as “refer to image on left”.

Error messages

When providing error messages use plain language. Avoid using jargon or error codes. Ensure the focus is programmatically moved to the error message. Keep error messaging close to content so that it is easier to find, in context.

Descriptive labels

Clearly written descriptive labels are an important way to make the user experience more accessible. Good labels tell the user the purpose of the button or field. Using one or two words, these short descriptors should be used to direct users to the next part of their experience on a website.

Call To Actions (CTA) 

Call to action button copy should describe the next action. Avoid using expressive copy like “Let’s do this” and instead use descriptive copy such as “Start set up”. 

Call to action buttons should:

  • Have less than five words

  • Begin with a strong, unique action verb

  • Be clear in the value users getting from clicking through

  • Displayed prominently on the page

  • Free from competitions from other CTAs on the page

Alternative image text - descriptive or decorative?

Alternative image text describes the content and function of images on the page. This provides a clearer experience for people using screen readers. When an image is unable to load or a user chose not to view images, alternative image text is displayed. Alternative image text is also used by search engines to get a better understanding of the content on the page. When writing alternative image text:

  • Include descriptive and useful information

  • Keep the text short (no longer than 125 characters)

  • Write text with the user in mind

  • Use optimized keywords for search engines responsibly if keywords are relevant

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Refer to the examples below to determine whether the images are descriptive or decorative:

Closed Captioning (CC)

Closed captioning is the process of displaying text over videos to provide audible content in a visual format. The captions describe the audio portion of a program including non-speech elements in a text format. 

Closed captioning should be available on every video on the site, even if the video does not include sound. For example, a video without spoken content  may contain music to convey an emotion. This can be described as [upbeat music] or [sad music]. If the video contains no audio, the captions should state [no audio].

Note that captions are not the same as subtitles. Subtitles assume an audience can hear the audio, but need the dialogue provided in text form as well. Closed captioning assumes an audience cannot hear the audio and needs a text description of what they would otherwise be hearing.