Do your part for web accessibility

Web and New Media Blog

In January 2017, the federal government released the Information and Communications Technology Final Standards and Guidelines. This rule requires that Missouri State complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.
Why do these standards matter?
As an institution that receives federal funding, we must comply with these federal regulations. But more importantly, developing accessible content is the right thing to do.
It is essential that the Web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. Indeed, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes access to information and communications technologies, including the web, as a basic human right.
Accessibility supports social inclusion for people with disabilities as well as others, such as older people, people in rural areas, and people in developing countries.
– W3C
Also, following these guidelines can improve the search engine optimization of your website. Many of the accessibility techniques overlap with SEO best practices, so your website will be better understood by search engines and possibly ranked higher in search results.
What does this mean for me as a website developer?
If you’re using Web Press, then many of the accessibility checkpoints will be handled by the overall templates. However, you need to ensure that the content you add to your website is also accessible. Below are some key areas that you should review:
Write meaningful text alternatives
Each image on your website much have a meaningful text equivalent:
Describe the image (like you would to someone over the phone).
Describe the destination if the image is a link.
Use a space if the image is decorative.
In Web Press, you supply the alt text when you upload an image to the Asset Manager.
Remember that context is everything, so sometimes the same image will have different alternative text. Read the WebAIM Alternative …

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