Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act requires all state and federal agencies to provide accessible Web pages for people with disabilities. To comply with federal, state and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) guidelines, the University Web Services adopted standards for use on all UTHealth Web pages. Please review the UTHealth Brand Standards website for comprehensive information.
Some examples are:
- Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element (audio tracks, images, etc.).
- Provide Alt descriptions for every image, Java applet, Flash file, video file, audio file, plug-in, etc.
- Include detailed text descriptions for complex graphics (graphs, charts, etc.)
- Use link destinations within alt descriptions for images.
- Use empty alt descriptions (alt=” “ for decorative graphics with no other function.)
- Caption and synchronize multimedia presentations (such as video with audio) on Web pages.
- Design Web pages so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, either from context or tags. Distinct contrasts between the foreground and background elements are preferable.
- Organize documents so they are readable without a style sheet.
- Use frames titles to indicate frame content and navigation.
- Do not design a page that causes the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz thus reducing the risk of optically induced seizures (technologies such as animated GIFs, Java applets, or third-party plug-ins or applications add flashing or flickering elements)
- Use functional text that can be read by assistive technology to identify the script information on those pages that use scripting languages to display content, or create interface elements.
- Allow people using assistive technology to access and complete electronic forms by providing information, field elements, and functionality including all directions and cues.
- Create text labels adjacent to form controls.
- Label form elements in the markup.
- Do not allow dynamic HTML scripting of the form to interfere with assistive technologies.
- Provide a method for users to skip repetitive navigation links.
- Alert the user via a prompt when a timed response is required and then provide the user sufficient time to indicate to the system that more time is required. (i.e., do not design Web pages with scripts that cause the Web page to disappear or “expire” if a response is not received within a specified amount of time.).
- When compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way, provide a text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, to make a site comply with the provisions of these standards. Update the content of the text-only page whenever the primary page changes.
This is not a complete list! The University provides SiteImprove—a tool that can track accessibility issues—that will send weekly emails of issues.
Below are just a few of the accessibility resources available on the Internet. Some of the evaluation tools have an associated cost and some are free. Most have a free download demo to try.
- WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind) Should be your first source for Web Accessibility. The site not only offers links to other resources, but maintains current information regarding techniques and concepts, training, reviews of products information and discussion groups.
- W3C Web Accessibility Initiative This website contains a complete list of Web accessibility evaluation tools that can be used to check Web pages and applications for outstanding accessibility issues.
As mentioned, the University provides SiteImprove to scan and report on accessibility issues for our public facing websites. If you manage one of those websites and are not receiving scan reports, please contact us. If you are part of a large group of content editors in your department or office, this report may already be sent to your lead content editor.
Accessibility for Videos
It is not only text and images that need to be accessible, but any form of media that is displayed on a website as well.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops web standards. Visit Making Audio and Video Media Accessible to get a handle on what needs to be done to make this content available to all.
The Accessible Videos Require Closed Captioning page created by the UTHealth Houston Academic & Administrative Technologies group goes into detail about what makes a video accessible, plus it links to free resources to help you with the task.