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Web Accessibility

Web content best practices make the Web more useable for everyone. Some of these practices also improve accessibility for people with visual or dexterity impairments. Here are some basic guidelines.

  • Use headers properly – Use one and only one h1 (heading 1 style) on every page and use other heading styles (h2, h3, h4, etc.) in descending order to organize the rest of the page content. Headings can be nested, like in an outline, to give structure to the page content.
  • Use alternative text (alt text) and/or photo captions to describe images. Linked images must have alt text. Images that are merely decorative should not have alt text.
  • Present important information as text rather than text in an image.
  • Use descriptive link text instead of “click here.” The reader may be scanning the page for links without reading anything else on the page. “Click here” doesn’t provide enough context unless you also read the surrounding text.
  • Write for the web – Use clear, simple language and scannable text.

PDF Accessibility

If your web page includes links to PDF documents, they should be accessible also. Some of the guidelines for creating accessible web pages also apply to PDFs. Here are three resources that explain how to create accessible PDFs using either Microsoft or Adobe Acrobat:

Tools for Checking Accessibility

Once you’ve created your web page, you can use some free tools to check how accessible it is.

  • Use an online accessibility validation tool, such as WebAIM’s WAVE, also available as a toolbar extension for Chrome or Firefox.
  • Use a free screenreader for either Mac or Windows operating systems:
    • Voiceover screenreader comes built-in to the Mac OS.
    • NVDA is an open-source screenreader software for Windows.

Disability Accommodation Support

The Office of Disability Accommodation Support has more information about accommodations for students with disabilities.

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