Web Accessibility

In order to meet its values of diversity and inclusiveness, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to making its website accessible to all.

Our website, www.umass.edu, strives towards best practices and standards as defined by Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act, located at www.section508.gov, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 level A and AA of the World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C WAI) for HTML/XHTML, CSS, and web content accessibility, located at www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21.

Accessibility and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

In addition to making content accessible by improving usability, the accessibility guidelines also work to improve our rankings in top search engine results.

Accessibility Testing Tools

We recommend using freely available testing tools for meeting accessibility requirements, including, but not limited to:


Providing Equal Access

All UMass Amherst websites should make best efforts to ensure that information is equally accessible for everyone by complying with the below easy checks to ensure equal access.

When creating digital content, we follow the “Web Accessibility Easy Checks” guidelines. These include:

  • Page Title
    • Example: Page Title : Site Name : UMass Amherst
  • Alt Text
    • Example: <img src="magnifying-glass.jpg" alt="search">
  • Headings
    • Example: <h1> comes first, followed by <h2> then <h3> etc...
  • Color Contrast
  • Resize Text
    • Example: Use text-only zoom on your browser (200%) and ensure that text doesn't disappear, cut off, or include horizontal scroll bars.
  • Keyboard Access and Visual Focus
    • Example: Check that you can tab to all the elements, including links, form fields, buttons, and media player controls.
  • Forms, Labels and Errors
  • Multimedia Alternatives
    • Examples: Review all video captions/transcripts, provide alternate formats for auditory and visual media.
  • Basic Structure Check
    • Example: Preview the site without any styling to make sure all content is available.
  • Link Purpose (In Context)
    • The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone.
  • Electronic Documents


For a more comprehensive approach, please refer to Techniques for WCAG 2.1