Accessible Content

Information and communication technology is considered accessible if it can be perceived, understood, navigated, and interacted with in a similar capacity by people with disabilities as it can by those without.

Comparable access to information must be provided, taking the needs of all users and learners into account. True accessibility provides for not just the vision and hearing impaired but also the color blind, those prone to seizures, and people with physical limitations that require keyboard navigation rather than the use of a mouse. With that in mind, we have developed tools and resources to help you make your web content accessible.

Getting Started

While creating digital content, we recommend that you follow accessibility best practices:

Accessible Text

Page Structure and Headings

When adding headings to web pages, content editors must follow the correct sequence. The page title serves as the H1 tag, and will be read first by screen readers. If information needs to be displayed in a sequential order or by group, editors should structure a page using H2 headings first, then if additional subheadings are required, H3, H4,etc., grouped or "nested" under the H2 sections. This will allow screen readers to understand the pattern of information and the correct reading order. After each section or grouping of related information, another H2 may be added and that same information structure can be repeated, allowing screen readers to understand the sequence in which thatinformation is grouped. A screen reader will read all of the H2 tags first to allow the user to choose which heading is most relevant to read further into, just as the human eye scans a page’s headings before reading further.

Descriptive Links and Text Attributes

The Bold button should be used for emphasizing entire sentences within a paragraph. The Italics button should be used for emphasizing a single word within a sentence. We do not permit the use of Underline within our site because the underline attribute confuses a word that is not a link for a link. Do not add bold, italics or link a heading. Do not substitute a heading for a bolded or italic word or grouping of words.

Name links in accordance to the content within the link provided. Avoid naming links generally. For example “Click here.” Instead name the link in relation to what the user will find after clicking the link.

Use Plain Language

Choose to write using plain, unobstructed language, versus clever or detailed explanations; this respects users’ time, and improves users’ overall website experience. Write text to guide users and the needs of your target audience. Ask yourself: Who is going to read this? What do they need to know? How might they be feeling?

Accessible Images

Alternative Text

Alt text — short for alternate or alternative text — is a text description of an image that is read aloud to people who visit our website using assistive technology, like screen readers. Alt text is required for all images on Brandeis websites. Alt text should be brief, descriptive, accurate, and context appropriate. When writing alt text, consider the purpose of the image.

If you upload an image of a group of students on campus—the location of the photograph, the name of the group featured, and any significant landmarks—serve as an acceptable alternative text description e.g. “Four Arcadia biology students disecting a frog in a lab at Boyer Hall.” 

Note: Text within an image should be used sparingly. If used, the alternate text must include all the words that appear on the image.

WebAIM: Alternative Text Techniques

Accessible Videos

Content editors must provide synchronized captions for all live multimedia containing audio e.g. audio-only broadcasts, web casts, videos, video conferences and Flash animations. When uploading a video, you must use a captioning services like those provided by YouTube or Vimeo. We recommend you manually enter captions, and then use the auto sync function versus using the auto captioning services provided on YouTube or Vimeo. Since our multimedia upload button allows for YouTube and Vimeo links only, we require you to have captioned your videos prior to uploading the link. 

LinkedIn Learning Course: Accessible Video

Accessible Documents

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 guidelines also apply to documents on a site.

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft PowerPoint

Adobe PDF

Adobe InDesign