Web Accessibility Standards
Introduction to Web Accessibility
USF is committed to being an inclusive and welcoming community. We have a legal obligation to make sure all of our digital content is WCAG 2.0 AA Accessibility Guidelines compliant. Making our web presence accessible to all is also the right thing to do, as well as consistent with our values as a Jesuit institution.
Digital accessibility is an ongoing and long-range initiative for USF. We have been tasked with ensuring that all new content and edits made to existing web content must be accessible.
Key Web Accessibility Principles
Every web update, new web page, or non HTML document requires that each of the following principles are followed carefully to ensure all of our content is accessible. Before making web edits, be sure to read and understand each section.
Alternative Text for Images
When deciding to use images on a webpage, consider that not everyone can see the image. It is important to provide alternative text, known as “alt text,” for those who can’t see images on the screen.
Logical, ordered, and brief headings that clearly describe sections of a page are helpful to everyone. Sighted users often scroll a page quickly and look for big, bold text (headings) to get an idea of the structure and content of the page. Screen reader users may navigate by heading structure and use keyboard shortcuts to jump from heading to heading.
HTML lists - unordered lists (bulleted lists) and ordered lists (numbered) - also convey a hierarchical content structure. Screen reader users may to choose to navigate the content of a page by tabbing through links and bypassing other content. It is important that each link has meaningful text describing the purpose of the link without relying on the surrounding text.
Meaningful Link Text and Avoiding Redundant Links
Screen reader users may to choose to navigate the content of a page by tabbing through links and bypassing other content. It is important that each link has meaningful text describing the purpose of the link without relying on the surrounding text.
Captions and Transcripts for Videos
Transcripts provide a textual version of the content that can be accessed by anyone. Transcripts are required for all pre-recorded video and audio. Captions are a text form of audio information in video and multimedia that are synched with the content being presented. Videos and live audio must have captions and a transcript.
Sufficient Color Contrast
Many people have difficult discerning text (foreground) from the background of a page if the contrast is too low. It is important that text has sufficient contrast in comparison to the background of a webpage. Insufficient contrast may make the text difficult to read.
Do not rely solely on sensory characteristics such as color, shape, size, visual location, orientation, or sound when providing instructions for understanding or interacting with content.
Non-HTML Documents: PDF files, Microsoft Word Documents, etc.
In addition to all of the other principles listed here, PDF documents and other non-HTML content must be accessible. If you cannot make it accessible, consider using HTML or another accessible alternative.
Tables should only be used to display tabular data and should not be used for layout. When using tables, it is important to make sure it is built with accessibility in mind.
Testing for Accessibility
Every time you create or edit web content, it is important test it for accessibility.
Tools and Tutorials
There are abundant tools and tutorials available to help you ensure your work is accessible.