Readability, Accessibility & Posting On The Ferry Forums

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Readability, Accessibility & Posting On The Ferry Forums

Post by TheFerryForums »

Following feedback and thinking about those who use mobile or assistive technology to read the forums, plus all the device form factors used to look at the forum from small 5.1inch(12.8cm) mobile screens to large 32inch(80cm) desktop screens, the following tips help readability and the reader to stay in the flow of the topic / posts.
  • Keep to the topic title, if you have more to say that isn't part of the topic, add to the appropriate topic or if no appropriate topic exists, start a new topic.
  • Use a line space in-between paragraphs to break the text up.
  • Use bullet points if appropriate.
  • Only use bold, underlining, brackets etc sparingly otherwise the text looks like a mathematical equation - off putting to almost all readers!
  • Insert images into post either as attachments (uploading) or from external sources using the Image button (next to Ω symbol in editor functions menu) or using image tags around the picture link. Including images in the post makes for ease of reading and some users do not want to keep following external links so the image is lost on the reader.
  • If you want to link to an external page or report, please add a summary (brief or detailed for context) in the post and a link to it at the end. Again some users want everything in one place for ease of reading and do not want to keep following external links.
  • If you start a new topic in the subject line please use capital letters at the the start of every word in the subject to separate the subject from the post text.
There is no limit on post length as long as it is relevant.

Remember a hard to read solid block of text on a large screen, on a mobile is daunting / won't be read, so your point(s) will be missed. Plus assistive technology does not read the page the same way a human reader sees it.

Additional Tips To Help Readability & Accessibility
When uploading / attaching an image, please use the Place Inline to put the image in the post itself and not leave as an attachment. To add an image to a post, place the cursor where you would like the image in the post editor and use 'Place Inline' button to add the image to the post body.

Placing images in posts reduces page load speed, helping other readers see content quicker by not downloading the image until the post is read. If every image is left as an attachment, all those images will be downloaded to the users device whether they read that post or not, including those already read / viewed, slowing page times on pages with images.

Also approximately half the readers use mobile devices for The Ferry Forums, so not downloading images helps people with limited data, and with the limited bandwidth found on mobiles, the slow page loading becomes dramatically slower on image rich pages.

To help those using assistive technologies, add the subject of the image (plus image credit) to the 'File Comment' box in Attachments under the post editor, this text will automatically appear below the image. If you just upload the auto generated raw image name, for example img_3548 or F8516B1E-7254-63F4-70A4-CAC8FHGT143C without a comment, the assistive technologies in trying to describe the image use the file name which obviously means nothing to the reader.

Don't forget to credit the image too.

Social Media Embeds
As not all social media embeds appear for all users adding the text, and an image if possible, from a social media post also helps for readability & accessibility too, providing context in the thread for those who cannot see the embed and your post meaning is not lost. Embedding behaviour is not consistent across all social media platforms as they change their ideas and algorithms, Facebook / Instagram have the most issues so adding the extra information for these two really helps with this.

Also, adding text / image helps if the social media post should disappear, to keep meaning for the post in the thread for those who have not read the thread yet. We already have some gaps from deleted posts.

Everyone is looking for slightly different things in the forum so bear that in mind when posting.
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