Tips for making an accessible site
- Don't use color as a way to convey meaning or importance. Colorblind users and screenreaders may not pick up on color changes.
- Don't mix different font types. Stick to the default font.
- Avoid changing the font size unless you have good reason. If you need headers within a text box, use Heading 3 and Heading 4 in the rich text editor, or use <h3> and <h4> tags in the HTML.
- Underlining text that is not a hyperlink is best avoided as it causes confusion.
- Use bold or italics in the rich text editor (or <strong> or <em> tags in HTML) to indicate emphasis. Use these tags sparingly.
- When using HTML, avoid older-style bold <b> or italics <i> tags as they denote style rather than importance.
- Avoid relying on non-HTML content that may not be accessible, like PDF or PowerPoint documents.
Use rich text Headings as indicators for sections and sub-sections in your guide. This not only provides heirarchical organization and formatting but also makes it easy for screen readers to scan and jump to different content areas.
- Never use Heading 1 (<h1> tag in HTML) in your guide as this should only be used once for the entire page.
- SpringShare uses Heading 2 for box titles so only use Heading 3 (<h3> tag in HTML) and below in rich text boxes.
- Higher numbered Headings should be placed above lower numbered ones otherwise your heirarchy gets confused.
- SpringShare has removed <h1> and <h2> tags in the box editor for WCAG2 compliance.
- Only use tables for tabular data that fits well into rows and columns.
- Don't use tables to format links or other information.
- Use table headers to describe the contents of the table columns.
- Avoid spanned rows as screen readers may not properly parse them.
- Tables have special styling to make them work well with responsive design. No need to manually change the table's width or cell padding in LibGuides.
Here is an example default 2x2 table with a header created within the rich text editor.
- All Images need to have Alternate text (ALT tags) included. You can check this by double-clicking the image when in the rich text edit mode.
- If the image links to a resource make sure the image ALT tag also describes the destination.
- Alt tags should be very brief and descriptive but not redundant. Don't repeat the same content from the image into the alt text.
- Avoid using "Image of..." since this is understood to be an image.
- WebAIM is a good starting resource for alt tags principles.
- Make sure link and database assets display their description below the link. Don't hide the description behind a hover-over button as this breaks accessibility.
- Break up long list of items into logical groups so that it can be skipped by screen readers.
- Make sure linked text makes sense out of context. Ambiguous phrasing obscures what the link is about.
Thanks to Jesse Martinez from O'Neill Library at Boston College for graciously allowing me to use his content.