Web accessibility: A win for us all
Starting this August, all ucop.edu content creators will need to ensure new or revised content meets accessibility standards (see our previous article). But since most of us create electronic documents that may be posted online, it’s essential for everyone to understand the basics of web accessibility. Making content accessible is the right thing to do — and it’s the law.
Four key web accessibility principles
The basics of web accessibility can be boiled down to four key metrics that you can ask yourself while creating content:
- Perceivable– Can everyone perceive your content? Taking simple steps like adding alt text for images and captions for videos ensures that people with vision or hearing impairments can perceive the content, either by using screen reader software or by reading captions.
- Operable– Can everyone navigate this content? People who have problems using a mouse should be able to use their keyboard or dictation software to navigate your content. This means that including features like focus indicators is essential to accessibility.
- Understandable– Can everyone understand your content? Take the time to add labels and instructions, define acronyms and unusual words, and write for a basic reading level. Use consistent navigation, and make it easy for users to correct any errors.
- Robust– Can all devices use your content? Maximize your content’s compatibility with all web browsers and assistive technologies.
3 ways that website accessibility helps content creators and all users
- More intuitive information — While your reason for adding an image caption (for example), may be for accessibility, chances are that this feature will benefit everyone. Taking the time to think about the experience of people with disabilities makes your approach to content development more thoughtful.
- A more inclusive experience — It’s short-sighted to think that disabilities are permanent. If we sprain a wrist tomorrow, we would have a temporary disability and need websites to be usable without a mouse. Keep that in mind when creating content.
- Increased website traffic — Removing user barriers makes it more likely that people will use your content and spend more time on your site. Adding accessible features like captions and alt text also enhances your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which in turn drives more people to your site. When your site has good SEO, it’s easier for users who need your content to find it.
Watch a video about why accessibility matters and sign up for an upcoming Cascade accessibility workflow class. To learn more about accessibility at UCOP, visit the UCOP IT Accessibility Program website.
This is the second article in a new series by UCOP IT about accessible web standards. Read the first article, Web accessibility: A new Cascade workflow and other need-to-know facts. For questions, please contact Yvonne Tevis. Look out for more accessibility news and tips in future issues of Link.Tags: accessibility