This page highlights common questions about digital accessibility. You may also want to browse the accessibility resources on my blog. The University also has an Assistive Technology Center, an Accessibility website and the UMass Libraries' Digital and Accessibility Resources.
I never click
That's what I heard at a training on web accessibility by the instructor who is blind. He was talking about the use of "click here" often found on web pages.
Don't use "click here." Instead use descriptive meaningful linked text. Learn why. Watch the brief video Screen Readers and Links from the University of Alabama.
Tables Are for Data
Only use tables for columns or rows of data and not for layout purposes. Remember screen readers will read the HTML code that makes up the table. One of the best resources on tables and accessibility is from WebAim: Creating Accessible Tables.
Add Alt Text to Images
Add alt text to images on your web pages and in your digital documents. Why? for screen readers. See the Do's and Don'ts from Princeton University on Alt Text and Images or Harvard's Write Good Alt Text.
Is your PDF an image of text? Convert It.
Make sure your PDF is not an image of text. Not sure how to tell? Do this:
- In your PDF, select the text to highlight it.
- Try this: Right click on the PDF. Does it say Save as image?
- Then it's an image and not text.
- See if you can copy the words "25%" on this image.
Convert an Image of Text Into "Real" Text
Lucky for us, you may use a free tool to convert it.
- Use this web based Document Conversion tool: www.robobraille.org/web3/umassamherst.
- Upload your fiile.
- Select document conversion.
- The converted document is returned via e-mail as an attachment.
- You will need to edit the file before it is saved to an accessible PDF.
Tag Your PDFs
There is more to making PDFs accessible than making sure your PDF is not an image of text. WebAim, an expert in digital accessibility says: “When people talk about ‘accessible’ PDF files, they are usually referring to "tagged" PDF files. PDF tags provide a hidden, structured representation of the PDF content that is presented to screen readers.” PDF Accessibility from WebAim
Check and Fix PDFs for Accessibility
The University of Texas has an excellent resource with clear instructions on how to check and fix PDFs. Go to the section: Checking your PDF with the Accessibility Check Tool on Checking & Fixing PDFs for Accessibility.
For a snapshot of an accessibility checklist, see the chart: PDF Properties and General Checks on the HHS.gov website at Required Fixes for PDF Files from HHS.gov
Add Video Captions
Your video must have accurate captions. Video captioning is one of the University requirements for accessibility, and it it the right thing to do.
One of the most interesting informative sites I've visited is The Complete Guide to Captioned Videos written by Meryl Evans who described herself as "profoundly deaf." The other resource is Closed Captioning from the UMass Brand Guide on Video Recording Tips.
Charts and Accessibility
Learn how to make your charts and graphs accessible. Don't rely on color alone to convey your message. Get help at Charts and Accessibility from Penn State University.
As an example, visit the Budget website's planning calendar. Notice that the sidebar tells the visitor that "The timeline is shown in the image and also detailed below the image." A detailed description of the timeline is below the image, because we cannot rely on color to convey information. The text makes it accessible to everyone.
Google Docs and Slides
Everyone loves cheatsheets. Use NCDA's (National Center for Disability and Access to Education) cheatsheets.
Penn State: An Excellent Site for Web Accessibility Help
You may contact me, Joanne Patalano, Web Developer, AFIT, at email@example.com.
This page last updated: 11/20/2022