We prioritise publication of webpages rather than documents

We publish as much content as possible as web pages. We prioritise publication as a web page because publishing content only as PDFs:

  • can make it difficult to find, maintain and use
  • does not work well with assistive technologies, such as screen readers
  • makes it difficult to navigate on a mobile device


If you need to publish a document online

Style your document

Headings in Microsoft Word

Use the styles built into Microsoft Word, rather than manually changing the size of the text or making it bold.

Use the ribbon (or toolbar) in Microsoft Word to style headings in order as Heading 1, Heading 2 and Heading 3.

  • Heading 1 is for the title of a document. There should only be one Heading 1 in a document.
  • Heading 2 is for a heading within the document.
  • Heading 3 is for subheadings under a Heading 2.

Keep the language simple

Use clear and simple language

Simple language makes your document accessible to people with cognitive impairments and learning disabilities.

Research shows that most users prefer simple language, including specialist audiences. This helps them to understand and process information quickly.

Where you need to use technical terms, abbreviations or acronyms, explain what they mean the first time you use them.


Less is more

Users with low literacy can struggle to:

  • identify the main points in large blocks of text
  • concentrate on reading for long periods of time
  • retain the information they are reading as they read it

You can help people of all literacy levels understand what they need to know by:

  • only including content that meets a specific user need
  • organising information into manageable chunks
  • using bullet points to break up long lists

Writing copy for the web gives some suggestions about how to write for an online audience.

Accessible links (hyperlinks)

Prioritise hyperlinks - if tasks are fulfilled by following hyperlinks, place the links above descriptive copy.

Creating accessible hyperlinks gives advice on writing hyperlink text.

Do not use FAQs

We do not publish FAQs on the Kirklees Council website. If you write content by starting with user needs, you will not need to use FAQs.

See Why we don't publish FAQs (frequently asked questions).

If you get questions that really are frequently asked, web.development@kirklees.gov.uk and we will help find a way to take care of those user needs.

Use alt text for images

Alternative text, or alt text

This is read out by screen readers, or is displayed if an image does not load or images have been switched off.

All images, except decorative images, must have alt text that:

  • tells people what information the image provides
  • describes the content and function of the image
  • is specific, meaningful and concise

Use normal punctuation, like commas and full stops, so the text is easy to read and understand.

Do not

  • include the name of the photographer or person who created the image, unless it is required in the terms of use
  • start with 'Image of', 'Graphic of' or 'Photo of'
  • repeat information from the page
  • include extra information not on the page

Check the colour contrast of images and text

Use black and white as a default - and if you use colour, make sure the contrast meets Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 . You can use the WebAIM: Contrast checker

Make your tables accessible

Only use tables as a way of presenting data. You should not use tables as a way of formatting text on a page, because it is not accessible and can make information more difficult to understand.

If you use tables:

  • give them a title and give rows and columns a header so users can find, navigate and understand tables.

Check your document is accessible

Accessibility checker tool

Use the Microsoft accessibility checker tool - The checker assists with finding accessibility errors in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

Although the checker can find a variety of issues, it does not find every possible error.

If you get a clean bill from the accessibility checker, you still need to manually check the heading structure and make sure links use descriptive hyperlink text.


Complete the document properties

All documents published on the Kirklees website must have their document properties filled in.

Filling in document properties tells you how to do this.

Create accessible PDFs

Acrobat tools allow you to create accessible PDFs and check the accessibility of existing PDFs. You can create PDFs to meet common accessibility standards, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and PDF/UA (Universal Access, or ISO 14289).

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