Web Content Accessibility Guidelines at a Glance

Computer and books

This article outlines some of the things that anyone designing content for presentation on the Internet should keep in mind.  Each of these tips will make it easier for all users to interact and engage with your content.

Provide text alternatives for non-text content.

  • Ensure that all images have an alternative text based description.

Ensure the accessibility of multimedia contents.

  • Ensure transcripts are provided for audio-only files.
  • Ensure A/V materials include captions.
  • When video elements are used, evaluate the need for audio descriptions.
  • If content requires the use of a plugin or applet, ensure that a link to download the plugin or applet is provided.

Be sure that content can be presented in different ways without losing meaning.

  • Use headings to organize content.
  • Don’t use visual cues as the only way to denote when something is important or emphasized.
  • Don’t use audio cues as the only way to tell the user when something has updated or changed.
  • Ensure that when users tab through content, the tab order is logical.
  • Ensure that tables have an identified header row and that cells are not merged or split

Make it easier for a user to see and hear content.

  • Ensure that links are not identified by color alone.
  • Ensure that audio controls are available to control audio clips.
  • Avoid the use of auto play for audio content.
  • Avoid the use of images of text.

Make it possible to interact with all web content from only the keyboard.

  • Be sure that you can navigate to all clickable items using only the keyboard.
  • Avoid the use of “drag and drop” exercises unless they also offer a “cut and paste” alternative.
  • If a video player is present on a web page, ensure that the user can navigate through the controls using the keyboard.

Ensure that users have enough time to read and use content.

  • If there are time limits for using content, ensure that the user is informed that they exist.
  • Ensure that users can request extensions to time limits if they are needed.

Avoid creating content that causes seizures.

  • Avoid the use of content that flashes on the screen.

Provide methods to help users navigate and find content.

  • Develop Web pages that include ‘skip links’ so users can bypass blocks of content that are repeated on multiple pages, such as navigation menus.
  • Be sure the document file names describe the purpose or function of the document.
  • Be sure that the text used in hyperlinks clearly describes the purpose or function of the link.

Make all of the text readable and understandable.

  • Be sure that web pages identify the primary language in the HTML page header.
  • When documents include phrases or sections of text in a foreign language, ensure that language is identified so screen readers know how to interact with it.

Ensure that the structure and function of content is predictable and programmatically defined.

  • Ensure that the structure of a document is predictable.
  • Be sure that the navigation menus are in the same location and order on every page of a site.

Help users avoid and correct mistakes.

  • When information must be provided in a particular format, ensure that is demonstrated for the user.

For more information about how disabled users experience web-based content, refer to “Improving Accessibility for All Users.”

Posted November 18, 2016
Author Robin Zahrndt