Web Accessibility Made Easy(er)

1. Links

Use descriptive text rather than only URL text or non-descriptive text. Link texts should be written so that they would make sense out of the context of your page. Generic texts such as “Click here” and “More” gives no indication as to the destination of the links.

Use concise, but not short phrases. Phrases should be a minimum of three words, however, linking a full sentence may also frustrate screen reader users. The ideal link text length will vary depending on your page but a minimum of three words is recommended.

Avoid duplicate link text. The same link text should not be used for links going to different destinations. Users might not know the difference if the links are not properly explained. If the destination pages are not the same, make sure the links can be distinguished by their link text alone.

2. Images

Use an alternative text (Alt) to describe the image in a logical, concise (max of 140 characters), and descriptive way. The Alt text is read by a screen reader in place of an image, allowing the page to be fully accessible to those using an assistive technology. The Alt text will also be displayed in place of the image if the image fails to load properly.

With a 140 character limit, it is unnecessary to being the Alt text with "image of", "graph of", etc. A screen reader will recognize the file as an image and let the user know for you. It's not required that an Alt text is under 140 characters but a screen reader will stop reading the text after 140 characters.

If an image can't be described in under 140 characters, it's recommended to add a description of the image as a caption. In this instance, you still need to add an Alt text, however, the Alt text should refer the user to the caption section for a description of the image.

3. Headings and Sub-Headings

Your page should be divided into logical sections using headings (H1-H3 tags). This ensures that the order of content presented to assistive technologies allows the user to make the most sense of your content. Screen readers allow users to view a list of all headings found on the page and uses the heading code (H1-H3 tags) to create that list. Users also may use the "tab" key to navigate through the headings of your page.

Headings should not skip levels and should always follow a hierarchical format. Headings used in the proper order will give a more accurate 'picture' of what is on your page.

For reference, in CMS4, your site title is an H1 tag and the optional headings on the content chunks are H3 tags.

4. Video and Audio

For support and resources about captioning videos or audio, please contact Disability Support Resources.

5. Readability

According to the Literacy Project Foundation, text to be read by the general public should aim for a grade level around 8th. Roughly 50% of US adults cannot read a book written at an 8th-grade level.

The Nielsen Norman Group found that most web visitors will only read about 20% of a web page, and, according to Time Magazine the majority of users spend fewer than 15 seconds on a page.


Disability Support Resources provide resources on assistive technologies, captioning, how to make your documents accessible online, and much more.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), helps to set the standards for web content accessibility. 

SiteImprove Web Governance checks your site for ADA-compliance issues and provides a list of actionable items organized into the three WCAG levels  - If you have questions about setting this up on your site please contact Joe Vugteveen

Page last modified February 3, 2017