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Website Accessibility - 10 Easy Tips

Below are ten simple ways to make your content and images more accessible.

These are standards that content contributors must adhere to when posting to the University’s website. Please consult with the University Website Administrators at webmasters@westfield.ma.edu if you have questions specific to your own Content Management System.

  1. Always include alternative text ("alt text") or captions for images. Read “How to Add Alternative Descriptions to Images.”
  2. Use headers (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) to logically structure a page, not to style or emphasize text.
  3. Use bold and italics to style or emphasize text, not to structure your page.
  4. Make sure that all video and audio are captioned or include a supplementary transcript.  Read “Captioning YouTube Videos”.
  5. When creating a link to another web page, avoid having the new page automatically open a new tab or window (sometimes called a "target"). If you must do so for security purposes (for instance, when going to an external site may log your user out of their secure session), make sure to let the user know.
  6. Make sure that any files available for download are also accessible.
  7. Avoid flashing content that could cause seizures. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) considers anything that flashes more than three times in a one second time span to be unacceptable.
  8. Avoid coloring text in such a way that it is difficult to differentiate the text from the page background. Avoid pattern backgrounds.  Text and background colors should contrast. Avoid using color alone to give directions.
  9. Avoid audio and video that play automatically. This will make it difficult for users with screen readers to navigate the page. Due to poor accessibility using Adobe Flash is not generally recommended.
  10. Write in a consistent tone and voice. Write in the simplest language appropriate for your content and always check spelling, grammar and readability.

The National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) provides Creating Accessible Electronic Content cheat sheet.  It is a one-page accessibility resource that has been developed to assist anyone who is creating accessible content.

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