The University of Alabama is committed to technology accessibility, and has established the Web Resources Accessibility Policy to meet World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG 2.0 AA. Failure to comply with the policy may result in your website being taken down by OIT. Web resources that are not accessible may submit a temporary exemption request and alternate access plan to the UA accessibility team. Contact the Student Life web team for assistance.
While the following accessibility guidelines relate to WordPress, the same standards are expected within all forms of digital communications that are used by the division. For this reason, include the Student Life web team when evaluating web-based products for your department. If you already have a web-based product, please reach out to the vendor for documentation regarding accessibility. This is provided as a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).
Digital accessibility includes appropriate formatting and headings, descriptive link text, alt text for images, closed captions for videos, transcripts for audio files, and making documents fully accessible. The UA accessibility team offers accessibility training for a variety of digital formats.
Often it is not the content but the format that causes accessibility issues. For this reason, please use the automatic theme formatting. Use the tools that are built in to your webpage editor in order to create lists, headings, emphasis, alignment, columns and other forms of formatting. Do not manually change font formatting—this includes type, color and size. Avoid using bold, underline or italics unless within Associated Press (AP) specifications. Do not use “ALL CAPS” except in abbreviated names, such as VPAT.
People who use screen readers (assistive technology for users who are blind or have low vision) often navigate page content by headings. Therefore, it is important to use the headings that are built in to your webpage editor, rather than manually formatting text to only provide visual cues for content organization.
For more detailed information, content administrators can access the WP Demo Headings page.
Screen readers can pull a list of all links on a page, so it is important to name links in a way that makes sense when they are out of context. For example, a series of links named “Click here” or “Read more” do not tell you where the link will send you, whereas “Marketing Request form” is self-explanatory.
Add content directly on a webpage whenever possible, as this creates a better mobile experience and is easier to make accessible. If you are not a document accessibility expert, do not upload PDFs or other files to your website. Any files you wish to add or update on your website must be reviewed by the Communications team, who can help you think through solutions that are accessible and practical.
If you embed or link any video or audio on your website, videos must be captioned and include a transcript, while audio files only require a transcript.
Images are not accessible to a screen reader, so it is required that all images contain “alt text.” Alt text is used to convey a brief description of the image to the screen reader.
Images that contain text should have the same text in the alt text. For this reason, it is important that you do not use an image as the only way to convey large amounts of information (e.g. infographic). If the image is used to convey meaning, the alt text should concisely convey that meaning. Alt text may be the name of the person in the image, or for generic images, something like “smiling students” or “student using microscope” would be appropriate alt text.
Images that contain text must meet WCAG 2.0 AA color contrast standards. TPGi’s Colour Contrast Analyser is a great tool to use, just make sure it passes minimum contrast for regular text (when viewed on a phone, no text is large text).