Skip to Main Content
Salisbury University BW
A Maryland University of National Distinction
navigation icon opens header SALISBURY UNIVERSITY

Web Development Office
navigation icon opens menu

Web Accessibility

Guidelines For Editors

Web Accessibility
Guidelines

Include “Alt” Tags on All Images and Buttons

Use Descriptive Link Text

Don’t Use Flickering, Blinking, or Scrolling Text

Use Simple/Concise Language

Make Sure Documents are ADA Compliant

Audio and Video

scontent: 1 bValue: -1 eValue:1

The following guidelines are highly encouraged to ensure your departments web pages are 508 ADA compliant. If you are unsure if your departments web pages meet 508 standards the following resource list tools for checking your web site. You can also reach out to the Salisbury University web office using our web request system, we offer ADA training and support for your web pages.

NOTE: The following page does not cover all ADA issues that can arise in the development of a web page. For help with a specific issue(s) please reach out to the Web Development Office. Below are common web edits done by a typical Content Contributor (someone who edits the web site through our CMS) AND ADA issues that can arise if done incorrectly. 

* * *

Include “Alt” Tags on All Images and Buttons

Provide a text equivalent for all non-text elements on the page. This includes images, graphical representations of text (images of posters/schedules) and buttons (Audio and Video are covered later).

Why?

Users who use screen readers or other visually assistive technology need to get all the same information from an image that non visually impaired users can get. This not only includes information contained in the image but a description of the image as well. Many times without the alternative text screen reader users are unaware an image is even present.

How to provide?

Our CMS system provides a way for users to provide a description for images and buttons.

For images, when a user chooses to insert an image to a web page they are required to enter an image description. This image description should include any textual information contained in the image and also a description of the image. Below is a sample image of a jellyfish. For this image description I would use something such as "Photograph of a large Jellyfish swimming.". Our CMS does provide a checkbox to mark an image as decorative but this should NOT be used. Chances are the image you are uploading is not decorative.

Photograph of large jellyfish swimming

For buttons - buttons on SU web pages typical take a user to another web page or they perform some action on the web page its self. When inserting the button (which is typical just a link with a button class applied) you will need to make the button's text descriptive of where the button takes the user. For example a button that opens up to SU's Admissions homepage should say something similar to "Visit the SU Admission web site". If the button is designed to perform an action on the page then we in the web office will need to assist you. In most cases buttons that do not serve as a link are implemented by the web office, however if that is not the case let us know and we can accommodate the accessibility issues. 

Link text should be descriptive of the page/document the link will open. Avoid using "Click here", "Read more" or other non descriptive link text that requires context clues to determine will the link will go. In cases where non-descriptive link text is needed or unavoidable the web office can provide assistance that provides assistive technology users to get the needed information about the destination of the link. 

Why?

Links provide navigation for users from web page to web page. But for users who use screen readers or other visually assistive technology listening to a page be read while looking for a link can be very time consuming. To help out visually assistive technology often will have the option to have links of a web page read directly to a user out of content. When links have link text "Click here", "Read more" or other non-descriptive text it makes it hard for visually impaired users to easily navigate through web pages.

How to Fix?

When creating a link use descriptive text that describes the destination of the link. The link text will most likely be longer then one or two words and that's OK. In cases where non-descriptive link text is needed or unavoidable the web office can provide assistance that provides assistive technology users with needed information about the destination of the link.. If the link is an image with no corresponding text, then you MUST include information about where the list is going in the image description (A description of the image is still needed). If we use the Jellyfish image above as an example of an image link that goes to a page with information about jellyfish. Our image description would look similar to "Photograph of a large jellyfish swimming. This will take you to more information about Jellyfish".

Don’t Use Flickering, Blinking, or Scrolling Text

Do not use animated gifs, flicker text/images or scrolling text without controls.

Why?

Epileptic seizures can be caused by blinking/flickering. As such using this type of content can pose a danger to someone with Epileptic seizures. Scrolling text that cannot be stopped/started can be tricky for users who use a screen reader. Scrolling text may be unavailable for some screen readers or it may even lock up the screen reader for some users.

Use Simple/Concise Language

Use the clearest and simplest language appropriate for a site’s content. Remember some of the users who will be visiting your site are potential students who are still in high school.

Why?

Translators and screen readers will translate simple language more accurately than complex text. As an Institution of Higher Education some of our potential site visitors are high school students some in 9th grade. If content is at too high of a reading level users may not be able to get all the information being conveyed.

How to Fix? 

Strive for clear and accurate headings and link descriptions. Avoid slang, jargon, and specialized meanings of familiar words, unless defined within your document. Favor words that are commonly used. For example, use “begin” rather than “commence” or use “try” rather than “endeavor.” Use active rather than passive verbs. Avoid complex sentence structures.

Make Sure Documents are ADA Compliant

Documents such as PDFs, Excel, and word documents are common place on Institutions of Higher Education web sites. As such they are subjected to ADA compliance standards. 

Why?

Documents online provide information to users on a variety of topics. These include class schedules, event posters, syllabi and other information. This information has to be accessible by everyone.

How to Fix? 

To ensure your documents are compliant the following government social security web site provides a checklist for different document types that can be used to check for ADA issues. If you are the content author fixing these issues should be only a matter of changing the structure. However if you are not the author you may need to connect the author or the web office to get assistance making your document ADA compliant. 

Audio and Video

Before publicly available video or audio is posted to a Salisbury University web site it must be approved and vetted by an appropriate supervisor and the Publications Office. (Any video or audio that requires a login to access is NOT publicly available and not subject to this rule.) 

In addition to an approval and vetting process, all video should be closed captioned and a transcript provided for audio. Services for providing closed captioning and transcription are available.  Rev.com offers closed captioning and transcription at $1.00 per minute of video.

For more questions regarding Audio or Video capability and ADA compliance please reach out to the Web Development Office.

Need help or have questions about this page? Please visit our Ask a Question or Report a Problem page.
Salisbury University 1101 Camden Avenue Salisbury, MD 21801 410-543-6000

/weboffice/accessibility/guidelines.html