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.
Discrediting even a portion of that 25% of the population will have an impact on your website
It's the right thing to do
5 Types of Disabilities
There are 5 types of disabilities that effect web use.4
Includes color blindness, no vision and low-vision
Includes deafness and a limited ability to hear
Includes inability or limited ability to use a mouse and use fine motor control as well as a slower response time
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 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