Is Your COVID-19 Emergency Information Accessible?

COID-10 Symptoms poster

During this surging pandemic of COVID-19, organizations are posting information fast and furiously on websites, social media, radio, and television. Many people rely on the internet and social media to get and share news. But if your information isn’t accessible, some of the most vulnerable among us may be unable to obtain the information they need. It means some of the people you are trying to inform about what to do, how to practice social distancing, and where to obtain assistance will be unable to do so.

Inaccessible information is everywhere

In the past few days, we’ve seen updates on television from government officials that have no ASL interpreter. We’ve seen government statistics and information posted online in pictorial form with no alt text describing what the image shows. We’ve seen television broadcasts and videos posted with important updates or safety information without captions. Websites posting locations to pick up food or supplies are inaccessible. Hotlines for assistance have been posted in social media as memes or pictures with no alt text.

Don’t forget people with disabilities 

Government officials are working hard to protect the population. Organizations are trying to disseminate information and provide support. Everyone wants to make a difference. But that means the information being shared MUST be accessible to people using assistive technology.

People with disabilities can be among the most vulnerable of our population, especially if they have additional health concerns. They are often the last to receive important updates. Dealing with an emergency situation, never easy for anyone, is even more difficult if you are managing a disability. Being unable to access accurate, current information means being behind on best practices for staying safe and healthy.

What to do

Caption your broadcasts and videos. Make sure all of your informative charts, graphs, memes, photos, and infographics are completely and accurately described using alt text. If you are giving live announcements, be sure there is an ASL interpreter and a transcript. Be sure your web content uses headings, describes all links and includes alt text for images, especially charts and graphs. Ensure all published PDFs are properly tagged to work with assistive technology. Try to provide your information in the simplest language you can. Keep in mind those who cannot see, or hear, or who may access your content online using only a keyboard.

Everyone needs your information. Be sure everyone can access it.
Not sure if you’re reaching everyone? Contact us for help!

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Tammy Albee

Tammy Albee | Content Marketer | Onix Tammy joined Onix after four years experience working at the National Federation of the Blind. She firmly maintains that accessibility is about reaching everyone, regardless of ability, and boosting your market share in the process. "Nobody should be barred from accessing information. It's what drives our modern society."