Creating accessible content is about making sure that all users can access and navigate your web content — including, and especially, users with disabilities.
Beyond providing a good user experience for all users, Seattle U is required by law to meet minimum accessibility standards; though we strive to meet WCAG 2.0 AA standards.
As content editors of Seattle U's websites, here are several things you should do to increase the accessibility of your websites:
- Use plain language
- Use proper heading structure
- Include text alternatives
- Post accessible PDFs
- Use links appropriately
- Use tables appropriately
- Mindful use of color and contrast
Writing clearly and simply is one of the most important things you can to do increase the accessibility of your web content.
"... the understandability of web content depends upon clear and simple writing. Unclear or confusing writing is an accessibility barrier to all readers, but can be especially difficult for people with reading disorders or cognitive disabilities."
— WebAIM: Writing Clearly and Simply
Minimize the use of jargon, acronyms, abbreviations. If they are necessary, then make sure to provide definitions.
For users who are navigating your website using assistive technologies, such as a screen reader, make sure that your content is organized and marked up using proper HTML headings so that users can easily navigate your website content.
Seattle U content editors can use the Text Editor in TerminalFour to add proper heading structure by clicking Format > Formats > Headings and then selecting Heading 1 through Heading 6.
Organizing your content using headings and subheadings will allow all of your users (especially those using assistive technologies, like screen readers) to quickly and easily find the specific topics they are looking for on your webpage.
When you use images or multimedia to convey important content to your users, it is important to include text alternatives that are accessible to users using assistive technologies.
Every image should have an 'alt' description; this description is read to users by the screen reader and should convey the meaning of the image to someone who cannot see it.
When you upload images to the Media Library, you should add an 'alt' description in the 'Description' field.
Try to stay away from images that include a lot of text on them. If the text within an image is conveying important content to your users, you must provide an accessible alternative, such as including the text in the 'alt' attribute or long description ("longdesc") attribute, adding a caption, and/or providing the text near to the image on the page.
When using video or audio content, it is important to provide a transcript, captions or subtitles for users who cannot hear or hear well.
In TerminalFour, we provide video content types which enable content editors to easily embed a YouTube or Vimeo video into your Seattle U websites. Both Vimeo and YouTube have
- See Vimeo's instructions for adding captions and subtitles to your Vimeo videos
- YouTube has several features that make it easier for users to create/edit captions including community contributions, transcribe and autosync, and automatic captioning. See YouTube's instructions for adding your own subtitles and closed captions to your YouTube videos.
- Please note: YouTube's automatic captioning does not meet the legal standards for accessibility due to high chance of error. If you use automatic captioning, you must review the captions for accuracy and correct any inaccuracies.
- Seattle U students and faculty can also use the video management system Kaltura, which is integrated into Canvas, to generate captions for their video content. Videos uploaded to Kaltura/Canvas are automatically closed captioned, then you can review and edit the captions for accuracy.
When you are posting a link to a PDF on your Seattle U website, you'll want to make sure that your PDFs are accessible before you upload them to the Media Library.
Firstly, you should make sure that links are working properly. See our blog post on Preventing 404 errors for more information.
Next, link text should make sense out of context, and should give users an idea of where they will go when they click on the link. (So link text like 'click here' are uninformative and especially unhelpful for users using assistive devices).
Link text should be short; try not to use the entire URL for the link text, especially if it's lengthy and unintelligble/not human friendly (screen readers read the entire URL out loud).
Also, links should be the only text on a page that are underlined.
Tables on websites should be used to present tabular data only, and not to control the layout of your page.
If you need to present tabular data, then it's important for tables to be appropriately formatted in the HTML so that users can successfully navigate and derive meaning from the tables on your website.
But you don't have to know HTML in order to create accessible tables in TerminalFour.
Another strategy for making your tables more accessible is to add a caption and/or a summary. Table captions and table summaries are "metadata" which means that the information is not typically displayed on the page, but is added to the code "behind the scenes" but it is read aloud to users using a screen reader to provide context and other helpful information to derive meaning from the table. You can now easily add a table caption or summary by selecting Tables > Table caption/summary.
Some users (such as those with color blindness or contrast sensitivity) cannot easily distinguish between different colors, therefore you must be very mindful about how you use color and contrast on your website.
Don't rely on color alone to convey meaning, direct navigation or differentiate between items.
Ensure you have sufficient contrast between the color of the text and the color of the background. If you're not sure whether you have sufficient contrast to meet accessibility standards, find out using a third-party resource such as the WebAim Color Contrast Checker.
Conclusion and Other Resources on Web Accessiblity
As always, if you have any questions about what you can do to make your web content more accessible, feel free to check out the resources below and contact the MarCom Web Team for assistance.
- Accessibility Basics from Usability.gov
- Easy Checks - A First Review of Web Accessibility from W3C Web Accessibility Initiative
- WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
- Principles of Accessible Design from WebAIM: Introduction to Web Accessibility
- How to Meet WCAG 2.0 from W3C Web Accessibility Initiative