HOW TO: Create Accessible Word Clouds

Word Cloud

A word cloud is a collection, or cluster, of words depicted in different sizes. The bigger and bolder the word appears, the more often it’s mentioned within a given text and the more important it is. [SOURCE]

So…how do you make a word cloud accessible?

To make a word cloud accessible for folks using screen readers or the keyboard to navigate the content, ensure that the raw cloud data is structured using HTML OL list elements (ordered lists defined by the OL tag).

By ensuring that the raw data is structured with OL tags in HTML, screen readers such as JAWS and NVDA will recognize the hierarchy of the list items and announce the information as it is structured and in the order that the content appears in the Document Object Model (DOM). The tabbing order will also be recognized within browsers as well. This will ensure that the most popular items or those items with the highest frequency will be accessed first with the keyboard.