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Accessibility

Best Practices

Accessibility is the practice of making your websites usable by as many people as possible. Accessibility and 508 compliance are critical to providing a quality user experience, especially in a publicly funded, higher education environment - and it's the law. 

Why?

1 in 4 Adults in the United States has a Disability1

Discrediting even a portion of that 25% of the population will have an impact on your website

It's the law. As an educational institution ignoring accessibility can be seen as illegal discrimination2

Accessibility helps your search engine optimization3

It's the right thing to do

 

5 Types of Disabilities

There are 5 types of disabilities that effect web use.4

Visual

Includes color blindness, no vision and low-vision

Auditory

Includes deafness and a limited ability to hear

Motor

Includes inability or limited ability to use a mouse and use fine motor control as well as a slower response time

Cognitive

Includes the inability to focus, being easily distracted, having a difficult time remembering large amounts of information

Seizure & Vestibular Disorders

Includes photoepileptic seizures, vertigo, vestibular migraine, etc.

  

How?

How do you make your website accessible? Understanding the 5 types of disabilities above can help you make the best decisions for your content. Here are some of the most common things to look for on a website. This is not an exhaustive list. To learn more please refer to Section 508 or to WCAG guidelines.

  • Create a logical heading structure (this is like creating an outline using h1, h2, h3, etc.)
  • Provide alternate text for videos, audio or non-decorative images
  • Tab through the web page with your keyboard, things should be in the correct order. You can also try navigating your website using a screen reader. See the resources section below for screen reader options.
  • Color-contrast should be adequate (see the contrast checker)
  • Properly convey meaning - don't rely on color, shape, size, visual location or sound to convey meaning (ex. the 'x' to close a window should also have alternative text to convey 'close')
  • Pausable elements - Anything with audio or video or that moves, blinks or scrolls automatically should have a pause button
  • Text shouldn't be an image
  • Text shouldn't be really small (recommend 16px or bigger wherever possible)
  • Focus states - if it changes when you hover over it, it should change when the keyboard focuses on it as well
  • Nothing that blinks more than 3 times a second
  • Allow users to bypass repeated information that is on every page (ex. the main navigation should be skippable when hitting tab on a keyboard)
  • Provide descriptive page titles - should describe purpose of page
  • Descriptive link text - the link should be able to be understood by link text alone (ex. not click here or learn more)
  • Hovering shouldn't change context (ex. a panel shouldn't flip on hover, but when it is clicked)
  • Descriptive labels and error messages - should be properly attached to the input they relate to
  • For more information visit webaim.org
Last Updated: 6/29/22