How to Make Infographics Accessible?

How to Create Accessible Infographics

Infographics have become a valuable tool for presenting data in a visually appealing and understandable format. They’re used in various fields like education, marketing, journalism, and data analysis. However, it’s important to make sure that infographics are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. In this article, we’ll look at why accessibility in infographics matters and provide practical steps to make them accessible.

Types of Infographics

1. PDF Infographics

PDF infographics are becoming more popular because they’re versatile. If you follow guidelines for making documents accessible, PDFs can be used by people with disabilities. Software like Adobe Acrobat helps with tagging and structuring, making PDFs compatible with screen readers

2. HTML and CSS Infographics

Infographics can also be made directly on websites using HTML and CSS coding. HTML is the standard language for creating web pages, and CSS controls how things look on different screens. By following coding standards, developers can make sure infographics on websites can be used by everyone, including those who rely on screen readers.

3. Illustrated Infographics

While illustrated infographics are widely used, they can present accessibility issues as some screen readers struggle to interpret them since they’re image-based. However, these challenges can be addressed by including alternative text descriptions, called transcripts. These transcripts provide a text version of the infographic, ensuring accessibility for all users, including those using screen readers. A good example is the CDC infographic on disability impacts, which includes a transcript with the infographic’s title, headings, and key data points.

 

Moreover, for those with advanced web development skills, transcripts can be directly embedded within infographics to improve accessibility.

Making Infographics Accessible:

Start With Content

Crafting infographics that reach everyone starts with clear content. Prioritize straightforward messaging and avoid jargon. Break down complex information into easy-to-understand pieces. When it comes to data visualization, functionality trumps fancy. Opt for simple charts like bar graphs to effectively convey your message. If you include references or data sources, ensure the links are clear and descriptive, especially for users relying on screen readers.

Design with Accessibility in Mind

1. Ensure Sufficient Color Contrast

To ensure accessible infographics, don’t overlook the importance of color contrast in your design elements. Confirm that text and graphics stand out clearly by using a color contrast tool to ensure they meet accessibility standards.

2. Enable Keyboard Navigation

Infographics should be navigable using only a keyboard. Some users rely on this method due to disabilities, so it’s essential to ensure all interactive elements like buttons and links can be accessed using the Tab key, with clear focus indicators.

3. Use Semantic HTML

When creating web-based infographics, structuring content with semantic HTML is important. This means using headings to organize information hierarchically and properly formatting lists and paragraphs for clarity and accessibility.

4. Provide Accessible Alternatives

For users who may have difficulty with visual content, consider offering alternative formats like downloadable data tables or plain text summaries. This ensures everyone can easily access the important information in your infographic.

5. Write an Effective Transcription

Ensure that the written transcript reflects the information and experience provided by the infographic. When visual elements are used for impact, such as different colors representing various demographics, these elements should be explained or replicated in the text. For example, while a reader with full vision may understand that blue and pink text signifies statistics regarding men and women, individuals who cannot easily interpret such cues will need additional details to draw the same conclusion. Ideally, your transcript will be positioned on the same page as the image-only infographic.

6. Including Alt Text for Images and Graphs

To ensure everyone can access key information, avoid relying solely on images. All images and graphs within your infographic should have descriptive alt text that effectively communicates the content’s significance to users with visual impairments. Alt text should be concise yet informative. Continual Engine offers reliable Alt Text & Image Accessibility services at an attractive cost and super-fast turnaround time. To learn more, click here.

7. Create Accessible Tables

When including tables in your infographic, focus on making them accessible by using HTML table elements. Be sure to add headers for rows and columns, and include captions to explain what the table is about. 

8. Use Clear Labels  

Make your data visualizations more accessible by labeling them clearly. For charts and graphs, data points, and legends in a way that’s easy to understand. Stick to text-based labels rather than relying only on color or shape.

9. Consider Font Size  

Choose fonts that are easy to read, especially on smaller screens. Avoid using tiny text to ensure everyone can easily read your infographic.

10. Keep It Simple  

Simplify your infographic design by avoiding too many visual effects, animations, or complicated layouts. A clean and straightforward design helps convey your message clearly without overwhelming your audience.

Testing and Evaluation for Accessible Infographic

Creating an accessible infographic is a continual process, not a one-time task. It requires consistent testing and evaluation to ensure that accessibility features are effective. Here are some key steps in the testing and evaluation process:

  1. Test with Screen Readers: Try using popular screen readers like JAWS, NVDA, or VoiceOver with your infographic. This helps ensure people who rely on these tools can understand your content clearly.
  2. Keyboard Navigation Check: Make sure all the interactive parts of your infographic can be used with just a keyboard. Try using the “tab” key to move around and see if everything works in a logical order.
  3. Easy-to-read Colors: There are tools and websites that can help you check if the colors you’ve chosen create enough contrast for people to easily read the text and see the graphics.
  4. Get Feedback: Ask people with disabilities to try out your infographic and let you know what they think. Use their suggestions to make it even better for everyone.
  5. Following the Rules: There are guidelines called WCAG that help make sure things are accessible. You can use online tools or do checks yourself to make sure your infographic follows these guidelines or any accessibility rules in your area.

Closing Thoughts

By following these guidelines and best practices, you can create infographics that are inclusive and accessible to a wider audience, regardless of their abilities. Remember, accessible infographics not only fulfill legal requirements but also demonstrate your commitment to clear communication and information sharing for everyone.

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Editors:

Debangku Sarma

Digital Marketing Associate
Continual Engine

Vijayshree Vethantham

Senior Vice-President, Growth & Strategy
Continual Engine US LLC

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