The web team is always working to improve the accessibility of our website, and we want to remind users that they need to follow best practices to make their content accessible.
Why think about accessibility?
- It makes your content easier to access: Following accessible web standards makes our site easier to use for all people, including visitors.
- It is the law: Web Governance Policy requires compliance with the Federal Rehabilitation Act’s Section 508, and looks to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 for guidance in meeting campus accessibility commitments. Because we are a partially federally funded institution, we must abide by these rules.
Issues editors need to address
You can log into your Site Improve account to view accessibility issues with your pages. Zuse Editors are responsible for making sure that all issues with “Editor” responsibility are addressed. Below is an overview of some of the issues you may find and how to address them. See Using Site Improve for Accessibility in our documentation for more information on how to view reports and fix issues.
Note: Because Site Improve can’t understand our content, the software may miss issues. Make sure you are following the below guidelines even if Site Improve isn’t flagging any issues.
All images should have an alt attribute. By default, if you don’t add alt text to your image, Zuse will mark it as null, meaning the image is purely decorative. Site editors are responsible for adding descriptive alt text if the image is not purely decorative.
If you do add alt text to your image, write a short description of the image. It shouldn’t be more than a handful of words.
Images should not include text. Do not include images of text because they can’t be interpreted by screen readers. If you include a graph or any image that contains content, make sure that content is also available in a different format.
Link text needs to be descriptive and understandable, even out of context. This means using text that describes where the link is going instead of something like “click here.” On a page, links with the same text need to go to the same place.
Screen readers rely on headings to give site visitors an outline of the content on the page. Using headings properly also makes your page easier to navigate for people of all abilities.
As much as possible, headings should be semantic, meaning they follow a structured layout with the largest heading coming first. Page titles are always level 1, so the first heading in your content should be a level 2.
All PDF documents that you link to from our website must be accessible. This means that they must be made directly from a program like Word and cannot be scanned images.
- Using Site Improve for Accessibility: Information on how to view and interpret Site Improve reports. Instructions for fixing errors reported by Site Improve.
- Developing Accessible Websites: Detailed background information from the University of Washington
- Using Site Improve: Never logged in before? Need to reset your password? Find out how.
- Creating an Accessible, Usable Web Site: Background on building a usable site