Web Accessibility Standards and Resources
In furtherance of its responsibility to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities, Hampshire College strives to make all web content fully accessible in accordance with the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA.
Checklist for Content Authors
Make your message easier to understand and remember with thoughtful word choice and short paragraphs. Writing clearly helps those with cognitive disabilities, language learners, and new community members.
- Follow the web writing style guide
Structure: Headings, Lists, Tables and Links
Good structure and unique links make your text easier for everyone to scan quickly, including users of assistive technology. They also improve search results for your content on the web.
- Use styles on your page or document to add real headings in descending numerical order (heading 1, then heading 2, then heading 3, etc.)
- Create bulleted or numbered lists using the text editor options
- Use tables for data only (not layout)
- Make tables as simple as possible (avoid merged cells or nested tables)
- Include a header row and column
- Text in table cells should display on one line. Word wrapping in tables creates problems for browsers and screen readers.
- The text of each link should be short, descriptive, and unique
- Avoid vague phrases such as "click here" and "read more." Instead, be specific with phrases such as "Read the report."
Color and Images
Plan ahead when creating visual elements so that everyone can appreciate your document, whether experiencing it through a screen reader, via black and white printouts, or on pages where images might not load.
- Give images concise, specific alternative text (also called "alt-text"). How you do this will depend on the platform you're using. For help on what to write, see this WAI chart.
- If you post images that contain non-selectable text (i.e., event posters), include all of the image text in the accompanying post.
- Don't use color alone to convey meaning. Make your text descriptive instead.
- If you change text color, highlight color, or background color in your document, check that your contrast is high enough with the WAVE tool.
Documents and Forms
- Documents or PDFs posted online should have text that is selectable and/or searchable by a computer, and generally follow the guidelines listed above.
- For fillable forms, avoid using PDFs.
- Use our Creating Accessible PDFs instructions to touch up your document if it needs to be in PDF form.
Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Description
Many people use captions or transcripts, including those who can't hear, viewers in loud environments, and those who prefer to read. If your video is for a broad audience, consider also adding audio descriptions to it.
- Videos need captions added (and audio descriptions if applicable).
- Audio files need transcripts.
Tools for Evaluating Web Accessibility
- WebAIM Wave Evaluation Tool
- WebAIM Wave Browser Extensions
- NoMouse Challenge
- Paul Adam Bookmarklets
- Paciello Colour Contrast Analyser
- Quick Accessible Color Contrast Checker
- Web Developer Browser Extensions
Learn More about Web Accessibility
- To learn about web accessibility from the experts, please visit WebAIM's introduction to web accessibility.
- Information about web accessibility standards can be found here: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA.
- To experience it yourself, take the NoMouse Challenge!