Best practices for posting flyers

Many folks on campus like to post flyers for their upcoming events onto their webpages. Problem is, often those pages don't meet our requirements for ADA 508 accessibility. They aren't usable on mobile devices either.

Understanding the issue

People with vision disabilities use tools called screen-readers that read web content out loud to them. The problem is that screen-readers can't pick up text from images, so none of the text that is on the flyer would be accessible to them. 

When images are resized for smaller mobile screens, any text on the image also shrinks. Eventually it becomes too small to read for sighted users. Imagine I'm on my way to the event, and I want to double check which room it is in on my phone. If this information is just posted on the flyer image, I won't be able to read it. 

Understand that paper and the web are fundamentally different mediums. Newspaper, radio and television all have different requirements and audience expectations, and so does the web.

Another big downside

Search engines can't index text on images either. So if your events are just listed in the flyer, and not as actual text on a webpage, I won't be able to find them by searching.

The best practice

The best way to fix this is to post the information on your flyer directly onto a webpage, using headings and text. You can spruce up the way your words appear with columns and sections, and add visual interest with pictures (just make sure they have alt text descriptions).

Can't I just upload a PDF?

If you just re-save your JPG as a PDF, it is no more accessible to someone using a screenreader. You have to start with a PDF that was created with accessibility in mind. 

Plus, you'll be sucking up your mobile users' data plans by making them download a PDF file (especially if it is a large file intended for printing). 

And, no one likes having to look at a PDF when they are browsing the web. 

Bottom line

Take the extra few minutes to create a regular webpage with headers and text. Your users will thank you.