Over 22% of Canadians live with some form of disability that has an impact on their everyday life, including how they interact with websites and digital materials. In response, federal and provincial governments are working on legislation that will soon require all websites to be accessible. As a learning community that values inclusiveness, UFV encouages all departments to follow best practices that keep web content accessible to people with diverse abilities.
Best practices for accessibility
Write clear headings
Visually-impaired web users rely on screen readers. A screen reader reads headings aloud to give the user a quick snapshot of the content layout on a page. Make sure your headings are identifiable to screen readers by using the <h>tags. Use wording that is clear, descriptive, and specific, so that someone will have a good idea what content follows the heading just by hearing it out loud.
Use contrasting colours
Those with colour-blindness may struggle to decipher text if the background colour is too similar in shade. If your font colour is dark, use a light background, and vice versa.
Create accessible links
Screen readers will also read your page’s link text aloud to give the user a quick idea of main user tasks and where the page content may lead. Your page shouldn’t contain a series of “click here” or “learn more” links. This will force your user to hunt around for the context of each link. Instead aim for descriptive, action-oriented links that can stand on their own. For example, “Learn more about financial aid options at UFV,” or “Book an advising appointment” make it very clear what will happen when a user clicks on these links.
Add alt-text to images
Always use the “alt” field to include a brief description of the image for the benefit of the visually impaired. This is especially important if your image contains text content.
Avoid images that include detailed text content
The "alt-image" field works well for brief descriptions of an image, for example: "UFV instructor engaged in conversation with a student." It is not intended for lengthy paragraphs. If your image contains important informational text, make sure you also include that text as web content on the web page. Ideally, make it a habit to use images that contain little to no text.
Add captions to videos
Videos should have large, clear subtitles in case your user is hearing-impaired.