Infographic Accessibility: Text is text

By February 4th, 2014

Infographics are growing in popularity, but they are often criticized for the accessibility challenges they create. Here's an infographic that was very surprising when it comes to accessibility, and we felt it should be celebrated and shared as a positive—a small thing, done well.

It is incredibly easy to chop any new thing on the internet to pieces because you will almost always find some accessibility issue in that new thing within about 10 seconds. I’m not exaggerating, especially when it comes to text-heavy infographics. When you’ve seen enough of them, you just assume “Ugh, not accessible!”

Why? Usually that large infographic is filled with text content and rich information that is visually appealing. And then the alt text is something like this:

alt="Spring break reading list"

or

alt="How to tell if your cat is seeing another family"

or even my favourite:

alt="Graphic of Infographic Graphic"

Okay, I’ll admit I made that last one up, but the reality is, those visually-rich, text-heavy infographics have information in them that simply isn’t represented anywhere in text. It is a VERY common problem.

Screen capture of Washington Post infographic

When I came across this article/infographic from the Washington Post: The health hazards of sitting, I expected the worst.

I was surprised! So was @JeffSmith. We didn’t get the worst!

All the text is actually just text. It isn’t locked down in an image. Sure, there are things that could be better here. But I’m not even going to mention them–at least not now. And you shouldn’t either.

The text is text, and not an image of text.

Thank you, Washington Post. Thank you for a small thing, done well.

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