Web Accessibility

What is meant by web site accessibility?  And why is this important?

Web site accessibility means that the content of a site is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.  Th__  curb cuts and automatic door openers, were originally intended to help people who use wheelchairs.  They provided wheelchair______  _____ streets and the ability to enter buildings independently.  But in reality, these two innovations became a benefit to everyone____ _____, even those who didn't use wheelchairs.  In fact_______, they have become so commonplace that we don't even think twice about them.  Accessible web content is a similar ________ in such a way so that it is accessible to people with disabilities, which like curb cuts and door openers,c an provide ______.

In terms of the web, accessibility includes such things as providing screen captions and transcriptions for audio and video clips ____ presented via an image.  Or, designing a web page so that the text can be easily enlarged.  In other cases, it means ________ convey meaning or that link text makes sense out of context.  These are just a few examples.

All web pages at Penn State which are used to conduct core University business or academic activities must be accessible.  See Policy AD69 for more details.


Web Standards

W3C (an international group that develops web standards) has devised a set of guidelines or principles to ensure the accessibility of web pages.  These principles (referred to as POUR),

  • Perceivable - The content must be available to all audiences through sight, hearing, or touch.
  • Operable - The content must be accessible via a keyboard.
  • Understandable - The content must be written so that it is easy to understand.
  • Robust - The site must work with browsers (including older versions), assistive technologies (such as screen readers), and ______.

Web Accessibility Tips

There are certain things you can do to make sure you web site is accessible to all users, including people with disabiliites.  _________ of Accessible Design.  It provides a brief description of each principle, the benefits, and tips for implementation.  ______  These include:

  • Design to standards.
  • Make sure content is well structured and clearly written.
  • Provide appropriate alternative text.
  • Ensure links make sense out of context.
  • Do not rely on color along to convey meaning.
  • Ensure users can complete and submit all forms.
  • Provide headers for data tables.
  • Caption video clips.  Provide transcripts for audio clips.
  • Ensure accessibility of non-HTML content.

In addition to the above principles, be sure to:

  • Design the site so that it meets Levels A and AA of WCAG 2.0.
  • Use HTML for the content and structure of the page.  Use HTML elements such as headings, lists, and paragraphs _______.
  • Use CSS for the presentation of the content.
  • Test your site to make sure content is accessible.

Here are a few other web sites that provide tips and techniques to help make your content accessible:

  • Web Page Accessibility
  • Web Accessibility Principles
  • Accessibility Checklist
  • WCAG Overview
  • How to Meet WCAG 2.0  (You can customize what topics you want to view.)
  • Web Standards (Accessibility) Checklist

Test Your Site

It is important to test our site and to catch any accessibility issues before it is launched.  Here are a few tools that can help.

  • Screen readers:  NVDA, JAWS, VoiceOver
  • Text-based browsers:  Lynx Viewer
  • Color checking services:  Vischeck (color blindness), Juicy Studio (color contrast)
  • Validation services:  Markup Validation Service  (Click More Options, then click the "Show Outline" box so y________.)
  • HTML and CSS validation services:  Unified Validator  (Click drop-won to see other choices.)
  • Javascript:  Turn off Javascript in the web browser to see if page still works.
  • Broken link checkers:  Link Checker
  • Web Accessibility Checkers (WCAG):  AChecker, Functional Accessibility Evaluator

In addition, you may find these web browser add-in helpful as testing tools:

  • Juicy Studio Accessibility Toolbar
  • Accessibility Evaluation Toolbar
  • WAVE Toolbar
  • Web Developer
  • Web Accessibility Toolbar
  • Internet Explorer * Developer Tools  (From the menu, select Tools/F12 Developer Tools.)

Helpful Tips

In regards to the accessibility guidelines, the items below are frequently the source of accessibility issues.  As a result, ____ each of these areas.

  • Text formatting and page layout (i.e. the presentation of content)
  • Font sizes
  • Alternative text for images
  • Tables
  • Forms
  • Non-descriptive links
  • PDF documents