Web Accessibility Policy Guidance: Creating Accessible Content

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This policy guidance provides information and recommendations for complying with UB’s Web Accessibility Policy.

It is important to understand that electronic accessibility can be complicated, and no guidance document can completely address every issue related to this topic. This guidance document is intended to provide a broad overview of web accessibility.

Background

Web accessibility is an essential part of inclusion, and it is required by law. People with sensory, manual or cognitive impairments may not be able to access web content that is created or structured in certain ways. These individuals may use assistive technology, such as captioning, screen readers, or other modifications to access electronic content. While assistive technology can be very effective in conveying online content, web content that is designed without accessibility in mind may form barriers to access. Common issue for individuals with impairments include the following:

Visual Impairments

Individuals with visual impairments may use adaptive technology such as screen readers to read the words on a webpage aloud. Screen readers cannot scan and interpret pictures and images. Additionally, some formats (particularly PDFs) may appear to be in text form, but are actually images of a document. (While Portable Document Format (PDF) documents will be inaccessible if they represent an image of a document with no other modifications, they can be made completely accessible through optical character recognition and other formatting available through tools such as the Adobe Acrobat accessibility checker.)

Screen readers will sort a page by heading levels, and will provide a list of links on the page. Pages that are not organized by heading level will be confusing to navigate with a screen reader. Similarly, if a page has links that are labeled generically with terms like “click here,” “learn more,” or “next,” the screen reader will list these generic labels without any context, providing no information about what is on the page.

Visual impairments may include the inability to distinguish among colors. Therefore, websites that use color to convey meaning will be inaccessible.

Individuals with visual impairments generally do not use a mouse. A website that cannot be navigated with the use of a keyboard will have accessibility problems.

People with visual impairments may not be able to see information conveyed by video or through visual aids such as PowerPoint.

Cognitive Impairments

Users might become confused at complex website layouts or inconsistent navigational schemes. They may also have difficulty focusing on lengthy sections of text. 

Hearing Impairments

Websites that rely on audio content to communicate information will be inaccessible unless captions or transcripts are provided.

Motor Impairments

Users may not be able to operate a mouse, making keyboard navigation essential.

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