Accessibility is Usability!

Utah Valley University is committed to creating accessible websites which provide a robust experience for all users. 

Accessibility on the web shouldn't be an afterthought. Building sites that start with accessibility in mind means that they will be more mobile-friendly, easier to navigate, have improved search engine optimization, and be available to all visitors!

What is web accessibility?

Creating accessible websites ensures that all of the content on your site is available to any visitor, regardless of disabilities, including:

  • Visual disability such as blindness, low vision, or color blindness

  • Auditory disability such as deafness and hard-of-hearing

  • Motor disability such as inability to use a mouse, slow response time, limited fine motor control

  • Cognitive disability such as learning disabilities, distractibility, inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information

Why is web accessibility important?

According to WebAIM:

One in four adults in the United States has a disability. Although not all disabilities impact internet use, businesses would be unwise to purposely exclude 25, 15, or even five percent of their potential customers. In education and government, in many cases it is illegal discrimination

The web's great potential for people with disabilities remains largely unrealized. For example, some sites can only be navigated using a mouse, and some multimedia is not captioned. What if you can’t use a mouse? What if you can't hear the audio?

As soon as we begin asking these types of questions, we begin to see how the internet can create barriers to people with disabilities—harming the internet's potential, frustrating users (customers), and leaving them dependent on others.

However, once we recognize the barriers, we can begin to remove them.

How are web accessibility guidelines determined?

The Word Wide Web Consortium (WC3), the governing body that determines web standards, provides guidelines for web accessibility, often referred to as "WCAG" (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). These guidelines are based on four principles to make sure that content on websites is:

  • Perceivable: available to the senses (primarily vision and hearing) through web browsers or assistive technology such as screen readers, etc.

  • Operable: accessible through interactive elements via mouse, keyboard, or assistive device

  • Understandable: as clear and unambiguous as possible

  • Robust: available to a wide range of technologies, including new and old user agents and assistive tools

Learn about how we are implementing these guidelines at UVU

What does this mean for site owners, site managers, and content contributors?

Web & Mobile Solutions makes efforts to build site templates that incorporate good accessibility practices, so the base structure of your pages, including default colors, department navigation, and standard elements that appear on every page, is accessible. However, site owners, site managers, and content contributors are essential in making sure that the content of individual pages within their department sites is accessible. 

Important accessibility responsibilities of the web community:

  • Adding alternative text to images
  • Properly nesting headings
  • Ensuring adequate text size and color contrast
  • Testing navigability of pages
  • Adding captions to videos and other media
  • Checking files such as PDFs and Word documents for accessibility issues

Learn more about how to make your sites as accessible as possible.