Accessibility

Commitment

The University of Oregon is committed to publishing websites that are inclusive and accessible to all users. This explicitly includes users with disabilities employing assistive technologies or other alternative means to access our web information.

The university uses WCAG 2.0 (Level A) as its web accessibility standard.

Accessibility is usability

Information on the web, properly designed, is accessible to all students and other visitors, including those with disabilities. Besides having a philosophical commitment to serving people with disabilities, the university also has a legal obligation not to discriminate against people on the basis of disability. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires the university to make all websites accessible to users with visual, hearing, mobility, and cognitive disabilities.

Please heed the following general recommendations for accessibility. If you come across an issue not clarified here, consult the WCAG 2.0 (Level A) guidelines.

  • Make sure visitors to your website can navigate and operate your pages with the keyboard alone.
  • Provide clear and uniform site navigation features and the ability to “skip” to main content.
  • Focus needs to be rendered for keyboard, as well as mouse.
  • Use semantically correct heading structure.
  • Use relative, not fixed, font sizes.
  • Use style sheets that control layout and presentation, but documents should be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.
  • Include clear and concise alt attributes for all relevant images and graphics appearing in your site. “Comment out” (for the screen reader) strictly decorative graphics with alt = “”. Use a testing tool to view images replaced with their alt text.
  • Avoid frames, but if you use them, always clearly title each frame. Frames create printing problems and are not easily bookmarked, and search engines have trouble indexing sites with frames.
  • Informationally rich graphics, such as charts and graphs, require an appropriate "longdesc" attribute or D link.
  • For web forms, use appropriate mark up, such as label, legend and field set.
  • Any use of data tables requires appropriate header mark-up and cells within nested or complex tables must convey all appropriate associated headers. They also require appropriate caption elements and the summary attributes.
  • Updated or refreshed areas of the page or screen must be announced and accessible to assistive technologies.
  • Links should have concise and descriptive screen text.
  • Page should maintain understandable structure if converted to one column or displayed without the associated style sheet.
  • Do not rely on color to convey meaning. For example, “the president’s comments are in red.” In addition, use only color contrasts distinguishable by those who do not see in color.
  • Use label and field set attributes for forms. Submit via a button rather than an automatic script.
  • If using a CAPTCHA, ensure it is accessible via a screen reader.
  • Avoid time-limited interactions including “automatic” events, if not avoidable then provide warning and user control of the even. 
  • Employ simply structured, consistent, and error-free code.
  • Caption all video. YouTube has very useful built in captioning tools. For videos not hosted on YouTube you can caption your videos using web applications like Universal Subtitles.
  • All audio files must contain links to text transcripts.

Resources and Background

One great benefit in adopting WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards is the tremendous amount of existing documentation. This documentation runs from the general to the highly specific.

Any web-developer facing an unusual and complicated accessibility issue can usually find a solution after a quick web search.  The standards are necessarily thorough and complex. Check the following sites for information on the WCAG 2.0 standards:

Additional contacts:
James Bailey, adaptive technology, 541-346-1076; jbailey@uoregon.edu
Jason Huebsch, assistant director of web development, 541-346-2012; jasonh@uoregon.edu

 

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