Accessibility Guide for Webpages

July 6, 2017 by Nia Ordinario

Information about creating web pages that meet accessibility requirements (ADA, Section 504, 508)

Introduction

Accessibility is a key issue for those who create web content (ie web pages) as well as digital documents that live offline. This strategy post is an introductory post that covers methods and tips useful for making web pages that meet accessibility requirements. For a similar post that covers offline documents (Word docs, PDFs, etc) see this post.

 

Why is accessibility important?

With as much as 20% of the population living with a disability, it is important (and in the case of educational institutions, a legal requirement) to make web pages accessible. When web pages are accessible, people who have visual, auditory, motor, and/or cognitive disabilities can access them and interact with them. Removing barriers to this access and interaction is central to web accessibility.

 

What can I do to make my web pages more accessible?

There are a number of free tools available to help you create web pages that are more accessible, as well as to audit the accessibility of your existing web pages. In many cases, the editor of a website will be able to make changes that positively affect how accessible the content is. In some cases, advanced levels of administrative access may be required to make certain changed.

 

If you already have a web page…

Tools such as WAVE from WebAIM can help identify barriers to accessibility of web pages. To use this tool, simply copy the URL of a website and paste it into the tool.

Screenshot of WAVE

WAVE report errors, alerts, and other potential issues with a web page, and offers information about how to correct them.

 

If you are creating new web pages…

WebAim has a short list of principles for accessible web design which includes easy-to-implement recommendations for web pages. This list includes:

  • Providing alternative (alt) text for a;; images
  • Using heading levels (h1, h2, h3, etc) to structure a web page
  • Ensuring links make sense out of context
  • Using color with care, and more

UC Berkeley also has a web page that offers ten tips for making your website accessible. In many cases, the content management system (CMS) you are using to manage your website, will have accessibility features built in.

Resources