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Information Technology Systems and Services

How Can I Make My Web Site Accessible?

  1. Step One:
    Learn and follow established accessibility guidelines and standards. The W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 , level AA, serve as the web accessibility standard for the University of Minnesota.
  2. Step Two:
    Best practice is to validate your HTML and CSS code to be sure that it is error-free and complies with W3C standards. It is important to use the HTML validator to create documents that are parsible so that user agents, including assistive technologies, can accurately interpret and parse content. Some tools that can help:
  3. Step Three:
    Evaluate the pages in your site with accessibility tools. Here are some tools that can help:
    • WAVE - Shows your original page, with icons and indicators revealing accessibility problems and features. It requires a basic understanding of accessibility but it also provides explanations of what things mean and teaches along the way.
    • Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE) - FAE is provided to the University of Minnesota as part of inCommon suite of applications. When accessing the website for the first time, select University of Minnesota from the drop down list and log in with UMN Internet ID and password. Setting up a scan is done on the "Run FAE" page. Once the scan is run, the report is presented in the Archived reports page.
    • A graphical user interface (GUI) browser (such as Firefox, Internet Explorer or Chrome) - These can be helpful for accessibility evaluation also. Examine your pages while adjusting the browser settings.
      • Turn off images then make sure that the information is presented in an appropriate sequence relative to the visual presentation on the GUI site.
      • Turn off the sound then make sure audio content is still available through text equivalents.
      • Change the font size (larger and smaller) in the browser, and observe whether the page is still readable.
      • Change the display color to black and white (or print out the page on a black and white printer) and observe whether color contrast is adequate.
      • Put away the mouse and tab through the links and form controls on a page. Make sure that you can access all links and form controls, that links have a visible focus indicator, and that they clearly indicate what they lead to.
    • Web Developer Extension for Firefox - It adds a menu and a toolbar to the browser with numerous web developer tools.
    • Colour Contrast Analyser - The Colour Contrast Analyser (CCA) helps you determine the legibility of text and the contrast of visual elements, such as graphical controls and visual indicators.

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