Web Editor Accessibility Guide
This guide is intended to assist Site Manager users at WSU with keeping information well organized, professionally presented, and -- above all -- accessible for all of our audiences.
Why Worry about Accessibility?
As a university, Weber State prides itself on “access” as a core institutional theme. This is reflected in many aspects of WSU: We have open enrollment. We keep tuition affordable. We prioritize community involvement.
This focus on access extends to the information we share: Is it easy to find? Is it straightforward and understandable? Does our communication create barriers, or remove them?
Another Level of Accessibility
“Web accessibility,” specifically, focuses on making sure that digital content is equally accessible to people with disabilities as those without. A disability may make it difficult or impossible for a user to use a mouse, read text, understand infographics, listen to audio … and so on.
Along with being good practice in general, web accessibility is now required by law as part of The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act in the U.S., and a range of international regulations.
More Benefits of an Accessible Approach
Along with best serving all of our audiences and protecting the university from liability, focusing on accessibility standards has a positive impact across weber.edu:
- It promotes good organization of information.
- It prevents content from being hidden.
- It assists with search engine optimization (SEO).
Tips for Site Editors
Many web accessibility features are already built into Site Manager templates. But as you are editing text, uploading files or adding images, there are best practices to keep in mind, and ways to make sure you are using these features to their greatest advantage. Taking a few minutes to pay attention to these details can make a huge difference for our users.
Include alternative text on images.
When you add a photo or graphic to a page in Site Manager, the Image Properties box has an Alternative Text field where you can enter a brief description of the image. ALT text is used by screen readers for visually impaired users. If you are using an image as a link, you still must include an ALT text description.
Don’t put text on images.
Text overlaid on an image or within a graphic file cannot be seen by a screen reader, so visually impaired users will miss it. Include the information within your page.
If it is necessary to use a complex graph or image to convey information, you can contact Marketing & Communications to see if there are ways to make it accessible.
Use headers properly.
Site Manager allows you to designate text as different heading levels using the Format button in the toolbar. Headings 2-6 are available to help you create a clear hierarchy of information on your pages. Make sure to use them in the proper order: Heading 2 for main points, Heading 3 for points beneath 2, and so on:
Heading 2 (page subheadline)
Heading 3 (subheadlines within Heading 2 info)
Heading 4 (subheadlines within Heading 3 info)
DO NOT use heading formatting just to add emphasis to phrases. That will disrupt the information structure and misdirect a visually impaired user.
Use bulleted and numbered lists.
Using lists is a great way to make your information easily digestible for all users. To ensure your lists are also accessible, use the list formatting buttons in the Site Manager toolbar. Screen readers can easily scan bulleted and numbered lists, but using different characters (like * or -) before list items will not be read correctly.
Label links descriptively.
Avoid vague wording like “click here,” “visit this page” or “more information.” Link text should clearly identify what the user will find on the new page.
Don’t rely on PDFs.
Although there are ways to make PDFs accessible, it is better in most cases to move that information into a Site Manager page, where accessibility features are already built in.
Include video captions and controls.
Any videos on your site must be captioned or accompanied by a text transcript. Videos and slideshows also must have pause, stop and play buttons.