Accessibility Resources and Tips for Content Managers

Some key guidelines for creating web page content that are helpful for both accessibility compliance as well as good organization include:

Appropriate use of headers to structure web pages

  • Each page must have a Heading Level 1 (H1). SitePublish themes can be setup to automatically include the H1, using the Title field for the page.
  • Do not “nest” headers improperly: H2 should not come before an H1. H3 should not come before the first H2, etc. Headers should define an outline of the page and should be used like an outline format.
  • When starting a new section of a page, use a header - in most cases, a Level 2 Header is appropriate for a major section within a web page.
  • Use the header styles for your site – don’t use bold or different fonts for different Level 2 Headers for example. Defaults should be used wherever possible so headers are consistent throughout a site; and then defaults can be changed via CSS to make updates to all headers when needed.
  • In general, do not use more than Heading Level 3 – using h4, h5, or h6 is acceptable, but might indicate that creating new subpages might be more appropriate.

Do not use tables for page layout - tables are for data

  • Tables should not be used to create multiple columns of content. Multiple columns should be created using HTML divs and CSS styles. In SitePublish, the Page Source can be edited to include HTML div IDs, classes (referencing template CSS) or inline styles; portlets and page styles can also be used to create different layouts.
  • When using tables for data, use appropriate table markup tags for table headers, summaries, captions, and other cell identifiers.

Images

  • Keep in mind that not all web users can view images. Many users are blind or partially-sighted. Be mindful of this when using images.
  • All images need Alternative Text ("alt" text) fields. This can be added using the WYSIWYG editor.
  • Avoid using images to convey complex content when possible; or, use additional, redundant text to explain images.
  • Avoid relying solely on text coloring - highlighting content in red for example - to emphasize text. Colors can be used, but additional "NOTE:" or "IMPORTANT:" indicators may be helpful for

Using Lists

  • Use Lists when appropriate. Lists are helpful for organization as well as helpful for accessibility.
  • Use the WYSIWYG editor or the HTML source to use appropriate List markup ("ol" - ordered lists; or "ul" - unordered/bulleted lists). Do not type 1., 2., 3. or use "-", etc. for creating lists.

More Tips

  1. Multimedia. Provide captioning and transcripts of audio, and descriptions of video.
  2. Hypertext links. Use text that makes sense when read out of context. For example, avoid "click here."
  3. Graphs & charts. Summarize or use the longdesc attribute.
  4. Scripts, applets, & plug-ins. Provide alternative content in case active features are inaccessible or unsupported.
  5. Frames. Use the noframes element and meaningful titles.
  6. Check your work. Validate. Use tools, checklist, and guidelines like http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG

More accessibility resources are available from the Accessible Information Technology Group