Pictures worth a thousand words

Many authors rely on infographics when attempting to communicate complex information. Not only can this visual representation of data make large amounts of information easier to digest, but infographics can be easily shared across different social media platforms.

Though infographics can indeed be valuable, it’s important to remember that just like simpler images, infographics require an alternative method of access since those with disabilities can’t always process visual cues, such as color or proximity.

Generally, an infographic can be made accessible by two methods: using HTML/CSS (instead of an image file) and creating a text alternative. Even though a text alternative can seem straightforward enough, determining what items should be translated into text and grouping the text into logical parts still requires careful thought and consideration.

A popular resource on the topic of accessible infographics is WebAim’s, Web Accessibility for Designers. Here, the authors suggest that optimal accessibility should start as part of the visual design process. When highlighting principles of accessible design, they show why using good contrast, adequate font size, and identifiable links are so important.

In a day of shorter attention spans and information overload, the same people who are inclined to skip a long page of text are often willing to scan an infographic, especially if it is well-designed. This makes the infographic a powerful tool for communication. Just don’t let the power go to your head—remember to make it accessible!

For additional information on accessible infographics, see the following links:

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