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Basic Web Accessibility
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  1. Basic Web Accessibility Nick OgrizovichUniversal Design Technology Lab

  2. Roadmap for today Accessibility- basics Legal Basics POUR Headings- Structured Formats ALT text PDF Accessibility Captioned Videos Testing/Validation Conclusion

  3. What really prompted the web? • “The power of the Web is in its universality.Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

  4. Legal Basics

  5. The Very Basics • Web Accessibility in a nutshell • Basics laws that govern accessibility the US

  6. What is Section 508? • Federal law • Part of Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998 • Section 508 standards added in 2001 • Previously was a guideline; standards carry the weight of law. • Applies to federal government

  7. Section 508 • Applies to electronic and information technology (E&IT) • Includes Web access/development and software development • At its heart, Section 508 is procurement law.

  8. The 508 Philosophy • Section 508 is about creating an open door. • Section 508 uses the purchasing power of the government to induce vendors to create accessible products. • The overall goal of Section 508 is a more accessible society.

  9. However… • States are not part of the federal government. • Our college is not part of the federal government.

  10. State Laws • All 50 states have laws on Web access • 23 states have statutes, policies, regulations, or guidelines regarding procurement

  11. Scope • Some states have requirements that carry the weight of law; others are guidelines. • Georgia Tech has listing of state laws • VT: We have some loosely worded “Policies” and pretty much only for “state websites”

  12. POUR Guidelines

  13. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines • Provides an international set of guidelines • Developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium • Basis of most web accessibility laws in the world. • Version 2.0 of these guidelines, published in December 2008, are based on four principles: • Perceivable • Operable • Understandable • Robust

  14. Perceivable • Available to the senses (vision and hearing primarily) • Through the browser • Through assistive technologies (e.g. screen readers, screen enlargers)

  15. Operable • Users can interact with all controls and interactive elements using either the mouse, keyboard, or an assistive device.

  16. Understandable • Content is clear and limits confusion and ambiguity.

  17. Robust • A wide range of technologies (including old and new user agents and assistive technologies) can access the content.

  18. The goal of providing accessible written content can be accomplished by being a POUR writer.

  19. Are you a POUR writer? • Understandable: “Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable. “This means that users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface (the content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding).”

  20. What is plain language and how can it help fulfill the WCAG 2.0 “Understandable” requirement?

  21. Plain languageis … • Plain language is writing that can be understood the first time people read or hear it. • … easy to read • … understandable • … usable

  22. Why is a lot of web content bad?

  23. The approach is wrong • The wrong people write web content. • The institution or “powers that be” dictate what content goes on the organization’s website. • Or actually, “go create a webpage for __topic__ , now! • People write content without considering their audience.

  24. Writers forget to consider … • People scan content (they don’t read it). • It’s hard to read large blocks of text. (TLDR) • There are people with low literacy skills. • Some people have low language proficiency. • Some people have cognitive impairments. • Some people are dyslexic.

  25. TL, DR

  26. Ensure links make sense out of context • Every link should make sense if the link text is read by itself. • Screen reader users may choose to read only the links on a web page. • Certain phrases like "click here" and "more" must be avoided. Try “…for more information on UVM Hockey..” • Search engines use incoming link text to determine what a page is about.

  27. Headings & Structure

  28. Use headings properly • Headings communicate document structure. • They help screen reader users, search engines, and more. • Headings should form an outline of the page (H1 = the main page heading, H2 = secondary headings, etc.) • Nearly all document authoring tools supporting headings at various levels

  29. Adding headings in CK Editor

  30. Adding headings in HTML <h1>This is the main heading</h1> <h2>This is a secondary heading</h2> <h2>This is another secondary heading</h2> DON’T: Use <h1> after using <h2>, <h3> etc. Headings are not visual formatting tools in html.

  31. Adding headings in Word

  32. Adding headings in Adobe Acrobat

  33. Alternate (ALT) Text

  34. Alt Text

  35. Add proper alt text to images • People who can’t see images depend on alternate text versions of image content • Almost every document authoring tool supports alt text. Right click on the image to access Image Properties or equivalent, then enter a brief description. • Keep alt text short and sweet.

  36. Adding alt text in Dreamweaver

  37. Adding alt text in HTML <imgsrc=“uvmlogo.gif” alt=“uvm logo”>

  38. Adding alt text in Word

  39. Adding alt text in Adobe Acrobat

  40. Accessible PDF’s

  41. 3. Create accessible PDFs • Not all PDFs are equal: • Image PDFs • PDFs with text, but no structure • Tagged PDF (the only accessible type) • Can create an accessible PDF from scratch • Using a tool that supports tagged PDF (e.g., Word) • Save as tagged PDF • Can fix an inaccessible PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro

  42. Fixing a PDF in Acrobat Pro • Convert to text (if needed) • Add tags to document (if needed) • Touch up reading order, add alt text to images • Check/correct headings and other tags • Create links from URLs (if needed) • Define document language • Run an accessibility check

  43. More on PDF Accessibility • • Includes workflows for: • Making a PDF accessible from scratch • Exporting from Word to tagged PDF • Repairing an inaccessible PDF using Acrobat Pro • Repairing inaccessible PDF forms using Acrobat Pro • Creating accessible PDF forms using Acrobat Pro • Creating accessible PDF forms using LiveCycle Designer • Also includes additional resources

  44. Know when to use PDF PDF is great for documents where: • Appearance is critical. Document must be the same across all platforms. • Security is critical. Document requires encryption, digital signatures, watermarks, etc. For many documents, HTML or Word may be a better choice

  45. Captioned Videos

  46. Caption videos • Captioned video is accessible to people who can’t hear it • Captions make video full-text searchable (YouTube) • Captions can be automatically translated to other languages during playback (YouTube) • Captions can be used to generate an interactive transcript (YouTube)

  47. Example YouTube Video with Captions

  48. Provide a transcript • Benefits individuals who are deaf-blind (easier to read than captions with a Braille device) • Benefits individuals with low Internet bandwidth (who can’t play the media) • Benefits all users by allowing them to access content quickly • Benefits Google, who indexes the content and ranks them in results

  49. Who can use this service? • Anyone Within The University using Audio/Visual material for University purposes. • How does one make a Captioning request? • Follow the link ‘Captioning Request Form’ at • Simply click on the link below the ‘faculty’ section, provide the information required, submit the form and await our reply! • For more information, contact Steven Airoldi (

  50. In closing • By addressing these basic principles, you will ensure greater accessibility of your web content to everyone.