Guidelines to Follow

The initiative reviewed the widely accepted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) (pronounced Wuh-cag), and recommend that each campus site meet at least the following:

Provide Appropriate Alternative Text

Alternative text (Alt text or ALT text) provides a textual alternative to non-text content (such as pictures and images) in web pages. It is especially helpful for people who rely on a screen reader. See WebAIM's article on ALT text for more information. (Content Providers and Developers)

Do Not Rely on Images with Text to Convey Information

Never use an image with text as the sole way to provide information to your users. If the image fails to load, or if a user is using a screen reader, they will not have access to the information. (Content Providers)

Provide Appropriate Document Structure

Headings, lists, and other structural elements provide meaning to web pages. They can also facilitate keyboard navigation within the page. (Content Providers and Developers)

Provide Headers for Data Tables

Tables are used online for layout and to organize data. Tables that are used to organize tabular data should have appropriate table headers. Data cells should be associated with their appropriate headers, making it easier for screen reader users to navigate and understand the data table. (Content Providers and Developers)

Ensure Users Can Complete and Submit All Forms

Ensure that every form element (text field, checkbox, dropdown list, etc.) has a label and make sure that label is associated with the correct form element using the label element. Also make sure that user can submit the form and recover from any errors, such as the failure to fill in all required fields. (Developers)

Ensure Links Make Sense Out of Context

Every link should make sense if the link text is read by itself. Screen reader users may choose to read only the links on a web page. Certain phrases like “click here” and “more” should be avoided. (Content Providers and Developers)

Caption and/or Provide Transcripts for Media

Videos and live audio have captions and a transcript. With archived audio, a transcription may be sufficient. (Content Providers)

Ensure Accessibility of Non-HTML Content

In addition to all of the other principles listed here, PDF documents and other non-HTML content must be as accessible as possible. This includes Microsoft Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, and Adobe Flash content. If you cannot make it accessible, consider using HTML instead or provide an accessible alternative. PDF documents should also include a series of tags to make it more accessible. A tagged PDF looks the same, but it is almost always more accessible to a person using a screen reader. (Content Providers)

Allow Users to Skip Repetitive Elements on the Page

Provide a method that allows users to skip navigation or other elements that repeat on every page. This is usually accomplished by providing a “Skip to Main Content” or “Skip Navigation” link at the top of the page which jumps to the main content of the page. (Developers)

Do Not Rely on Color Alone to Convey Meaning

The use of color can enhance comprehension, but do not use color alone to convey information. That information may not be available to a person who is colorblind and will be unavailable to screen reader users. (Developers)

Make Sure Content is Clearly Written and Easy to Read

There are many ways to make your content easier to understand. Write clearly, use clear fonts, and use headings and lists appropriately. (Content Providers and Developers)

Make JavaScript Accessible

Ensure that JavaScript event handlers are device-independent (e.g., they do not require the use of a mouse) and make sure that your page does not rely on JavaScript to function. (Developers)

Define Abbreviations

When you use an abbreviation or acronym, use the full word or name first, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. After that, you can use the shortened version. If periods are commonly omitted, continue to do so. (Content Providers)

  • University of Notre Dame (ND)
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)