Web guidelines for content editors: Accessibility

All official university websites, resources, and content must be accessible to users with disabilities. The university has adopted the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as its standard for accessibility, establishing that all sites should strive for WCAG AA conformance. For more information, see the university’s IT accessibility website.

In addition, here is the University of Iowa Web Accessibility Policy.

The major categories of disability types are Visual (blindness, low vision, color-blindness), Hearing (deafness), Motor (inability to use a mouse, slow response time, limited fine motor control) and Cognitive (learning disabilities, distractibility, inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information).  Each of the major categories of disabilities requires certain types of adaptations in the design of the web content. Most of the time, these adaptations benefit nearly everyone, not just people with disabilities.  [from WebAIM]

Highlights from the WebAIM’s WCAG 2.0 Checklist:

  • All images have appropriate, equivalent alternative text (also referred to as ALT text).
  • Images that do not convey content, are decorative, or with content that is already conveyed in text are given null alt text (alt=””).
  • Synchronized captions are provided for non-live, web-based video. (This includes tutorials.)
  • Use Semantic markup that is a standard part of HTML (headings, lists, etc.).
    See:  http://webaim.org/techniques/semanticstructure/
  • Tables are used for tabular data not layout.
  • The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone (e.g., don’t use “click here”, but rather, “click here for more information about frog mating dances”).

PDF Accessibility
Links to documents about creating accessible PDFs are available on WebAIM: http://webaim.org/techniques/acrobat/

Accessibility checks
Submit your page/site to lib-webmaster@uiowa.edu for an accessibility check.