Web Accessibility Standards
In keeping with our mission, The University of Akron is committed to equal access of web information for all. This document states the standards for the accessibility to select web-based services to meet student and community needs, and to ensure compliance with regulations.
Our standards allow people with disabilities to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as individuals without disabilities, with substantially equivalent ease of use, using reasonable accommodations when necessary.
All published pages within the dotCMS content management system will comply with our web accessibility standards, which are defined lower in this document. This includes forms displayed on one of our pages or linked to from one of our pages. Consult with the webteam to help ensure that your forms meet our accessibility standards.
Unpublished sites and pages are in archive status and do not have to meet the standards unless their status changes.
These standards apply to dotCMS, CASHNet, our WordPress sites and bepress. Software/sites under the direction of other university departments are beyond the scope of these guidelines. This includes My Akron, Brightspace and the faculty sites within Zipspace.
When contracted web services under UCM management come up for renewal, or when we contract for new services, we will require language to assure the supplier meets our standards.
UCM will place priority on bringing core web pages up to standard. We will provide training, support and guidance to our colleges and departments, as they are responsible for bringing their sites into compliance and maintaining them.
Exceptions to this policy should be requested through an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. UCM, after consulting with others, will grant exceptions as appropriate.
Questions about this policy, training, support and compliance tools (SiteImprove) should be sent to email@example.com.
Our accessibility standards
We have adopted the World Wide Web Consortium’s standard: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Version 2.0, AA conformance level as the minimum accessibility standard for all dotCMS pages. WCAG 2.0 was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, the same international group that releases standards on HTML and other web architectures.
To serve people on our main site using screen readers, the University employs the services of Usablenet, which provides a text-only display. A link appears in the left side of the footer on every dotCMS page.
Web editors on our site need to take a few extra steps to ensure that people using screen readers can receive the same information as people without disabilities.
- For photos, complete the “Alt text” field with a description of what’s in the image. Good description: “A map showing the campus bus routes.” A poor description: “A map”
- For videos, supply a synchronized transcript. Rev.com provides transcription service for about $1 a minute. Steve Allen in University Communications and Marketing can provide guidance.
- Clearly identify the destination of each link. Avoid “click here” or “more.” Instead, provide a description of the destination page (often the header at the top of the destination page is a good place to start). Example: Learn more about our admissions standards.
- Do not alter the size or color of the fonts on your page. Doing so may impair the readability of our site to people with forms of colorblindness. Similarly, there must be sufficient contrast between text and the background of the page or page element (like a shaded box). WebAIM provides excellent, free tools for testing.
- Help people using screen readers grasp the important elements of your page quickly by placing the main headline for the page in h1 tags at the top of the page. Organize subordinate information using the appropriate h2, h3 or h4 tags lower on the page. To test the organization of your published page, click on Text Only in the footer.
- Give your page a title element. When editing, click on Page Properties, then the Advance Properties tab. In the “Friendly name” field, place a short title that provides the name of the page and contextual information to help orient the user within the web site. The title should be unique within the site whenever possible. It should not include the University’s name, but it might include the college or department. Example: “Admissions requirements | Sport Science and Wellness Education”
- Tables that present data need some additional code to specify rows and columns. This page provides a good summary of what’s required.
- PDFs should be used sparingly, and when they are used, they must comply with the WCAG 2.0 standard. Adobe Acrobat Pro is available to all employees and includes tools to help assure compliance with WCAG 2.0. (The better choice may be to convert the content of the PDF into a webpage.). If you have questions, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is not an exhaustive list of the WCAG 2.0 standards. The University’s web team is responsible for assuring our compliance with the standards beyond the points above.
This page, developed by Pennsylvania State University, provides helpful guidance for those seeking additional details about meeting WCAG standards.