Under UW IT Accessibility Guidelines, content editors are responsible for adding content, images, and files that are accessible to users with disabilities. Some of the most common things editors overlook:
- Headings - Headings act as an outline to help people quickly find information. When adding headings, nest the headings in a hierarchical manner, as you would in an outline or table of contents. For example, start a section with a heading 2 and use a heading 3 for each subsection. Avoid skipping levels — you shouldn't have a heading 3 without a heading 2 above it. (Note that the title of most DWF pages is a heading 1).
- Lists - Bulleted and numbered lists help people quickly digest important content. Screen reading software informs the user that they have landed on a list and provides additional information, such as the number of items in the list. This helps the user decide whether to continue with the list or move on to other content.
- Alt text for images - Enter alt text for all images so that screen readers and search engines can understand what the image is. It needn't be long and detailed, just a basic indication of the image's content. Screen reader software will say something like, "Image: your alt text." See our page on Writing Good Alt Text.
- Text within images - If the image contains any text, be sure to include that in the alt text, or repeat it within the body of the page for those users or software that can't see the image. Those graphics may look great to you, but they essentially make the content invisible to search engines, users with vision problems, or users with text-only browsers. Avoid putting text in images if at all possible. Use images to add visual interest, use text captions below or next to the image if available, and put the info into the content copy.
- Ambiguous links - Using "click here" or "read more" does not make the best link text, because it doesn't give screen reader users any indication of where the link goes. The software will say something like, "Link: click here." It is better to use the page title or name of the resource you are linking to. This also helps search engines understand your site better.
- PDF attachments - Authoring well-structured, accessible PDFs requires special steps. Unless you are posting an extremely long document or a form, consider turning the PDF into a standard web page. This will make it easier to read across devices, and easier to maintain over time (cuts out the steps of editing the file, saving the file, uploading the file, etc.)
There are many resources on the web that describe how to author accessible web pages and documents. See the UW IT Accessibility Guidelines for details about accessibility standards and links to resources, including an accessibility checklist and tutorial.
The Arts & Sciences web team aims to meet these guidelines on the technical side, such as including skip links and keyboard navigation, adding ARIA roles, ensuring sufficient color contrast, and many other principles of universal design.