Websites created with accessibility in mind will allow their use for a wide variety of people and will be clearer, better-organized and more useful for everyone.
UB’s web presence is the way in which many people are first introduced to all we have to offer, and is critical to communicating with our community. In order to be fully inclusive, UB’s websites must be accessible to everyone. These principles will allow you to build websites that everyone can access.
Accessible websites have the following attributes:
- They use HTML headings. Heading provide an outline so that a user will understand the page layout, and they provide a target to allow a user to jump from heading to heading. Headings also provide for a better-organized and clearer website for all users, regardless of whether they access the site through assistive technology.
- They can be accessed with a keyboard. A user can easily access content using the tab key. You can test this by setting aside your mouse and trying to navigate the site using only your keyboard.
- They use alternative text (“alt text”) to describe pictures, graphs, and other visual information that is not in text format.
- Menus are accessible and do not require a user to hover over them with a mouse. Dropdown menus can present challenges for individuals using assistive technology.
- Forms allow a user to tab through the fields, and contain descriptive text in each field for screen readers.
- Columns are used to divide content into sections instead of data tables. Where a data table is used to present data, it is either presented in a simple table or series of simple tables with table headers, or there is sufficient alternative text to allow a user to understand the content of the table.
- Color is not used to convey content. Where colors are used, they must have sufficient contrast.
- Link text is descriptive, but short and easy to convey with voice commands. Long URLs should not be used as link text, nor should non-descriptive phrases like “click here” without further explanation.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 provide detailed information about standards in accessible content. WCAG instructs that web content should follow these principles:
- It must be perceivable, either alone or through assistive technology.
- It must be operable by individuals regardless of whether they use assistive technology, or whether they have visual, hearing, motor or other impairments;
- Content must be readable and understandable, and the website should operate in predictable ways;
- It must be robust and able to be accessed through a variety of assistive technologies.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) publishes detailed guidelines
about WCAG 2.0 compliance that outlines how websites can meet each of these principles.