How to Keep Your Content Accessible

Any site built off of OpenPublic will meet front-end 508 and accessibility standards out-of-the-box. However, there are a few guidelines to follow when entering content onto your site:

  1. h1 through h6 headings help provide a hierarchy for the page. h1 is always included by default as the page title. Therefore, all headings should follow a hierarchy of importance starting with the h2 tag.
  2. MP3s must include text transcripts. You can either provide an HTML page containing the transcript or you can link to a separate text file.
  3. Videos and podcasts with videos must include closed captions that are synchronized with the video
  4. In order for screen readers to read an acronym or abbreviation as letters instead of as a word, you will need to use the ACRONYM and ABBR tags. You can find more information on the W3C website.
  5. Links should be descriptive and understood on their own. For example, avoid using “click here,” “more,” “read more.”
  6. If you use color in your text to convey information, please ensure that this information is also available without color as well.
  7. Although most web browsers inform users when a missing plug-in is necessary in order to access content, it is still best to provide a link to the required software, such as Flash, Adobe Acrobat, etc. on the page requiring the plug-in.
  8. Include a text equivalent, such an alt tag, for any non-text element. A non-text element includes images and image buttons. These alt tags will help those with disabilities to access essential information. Benefits of ALT text include:
    1. Improve SEO
      1. Search Engines cannot "see" images. When a description of an image is provided (theoretically using keywords), SEO is improved. 
    2. Provide accessibility to a person who cannot see
      1. An image is often used to provide further meaning to the content. A user who is blind or has low vision would benefit from understanding an image.
    3. Describe Image for those with Slower Websites or Images Turned Off
    4. Exceptions
      1. Decorative images that do not provide meaning to the page. (Such as a horizontal line) Instead of a full description, add: <alt="">
      2. "Button" images: Do not include "button" in the alt-text, i.e. "alt=Submit Button" (incorrect) -- rather, indicate the action that the button does, i.e. "alt="Submit Form" (correct)
      3. Logo: There is not a need to describe the company logo, nor is there a need to add "logo" into the alt-text description. 


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