Are there guidelines for ensuring that conditional content remains accessible to all users?

Ensuring that conditional content remains accessible to all users is a critical consideration in DITA documentation. While conditional processing allows you to tailor content for specific audiences, it’s important to follow accessibility guidelines to make sure the content remains inclusive. Here are some key guidelines to achieve this:

Provide Descriptive Alt Text

When you use images, charts, or multimedia that are conditionally processed, ensure that they have descriptive alt text, as mentioned earlier. Alt text provides a textual alternative for non-text content and is invaluable for users with visual impairments. Alt text should convey the content’s meaning or function, allowing all users to understand the context even if the visual element is hidden or filtered for certain conditions.

Use Meaningful Link Text

For links within conditional content, use meaningful and descriptive link text. This helps users, including those using screen readers, to understand where the link leads. Avoid using generic terms like “click here” or “read more.” Instead, provide specific information about the linked content so that users can make informed choices.

Test with Assistive Technologies

Before finalizing your conditional content, it’s crucial to test it with various assistive technologies such as screen readers. This will help you identify any accessibility issues and ensure that users with disabilities can access and understand the content. Make necessary adjustments based on the test results to achieve a high level of accessibility.


Here’s an example of ensuring accessibility in conditional content:

<image href="example.png" conkeyref="conditional-key"/>
<alt conref="alt-text.dita"/>
<link conkeyref="link-key">Read more about this topic</link>

In this example, the <image> element with a conditional key references an image, and the <alt> element references an external DITA topic “alt-text.dita” for alternative text. The <link> element with a conditional key provides meaningful link text. These practices ensure that conditional content remains accessible to all users, regardless of the applied conditions.