How UND Exceeded Web Accessibility Goals

Any recipient of federal money must make their digital technology accessible to people with disabilities. It’s the law. For the UND website, this means anyone should be able to interact with and learn from our website without barriers. We weren’t meeting the mark.

UND uses Siteimprove, a paid service, to ensure pages in our content management system (CMS) comply with accessibility standards. According to Siteimprove measurements, we were not meeting industry benchmarks for accessibility – out of 100 points industry benchmark is 75 and UND was at 69. We worked with the Equal Opportunity Office to hire a student to make content fixes flagged in Siteimprove. Additionally, UIT worked for months to push out site-wide technical fixes that impacted all pages in the CMS. It worked. We moved our site accessibility score from 69 to 93.8.

To ensure the website continues meeting accessibility standards, content editors should follow these guidelines when updating content:

  1. All webpages must have unique page titles (40-60 characters).
  2. Image alternate text should be meaningful and descriptive (keep below 53 characters).
  3. There is only one <h1> per page. After an <h1>, pages should have a proper hierarchy of heading tags with <h2> tags appearing below a single <h1>, <h3> appearing below an <h2>, and an <h4> appearing below an <h3>.
  4. Avoid using images with text. Including text as part of images presents issues not only for the visually impaired, but those using screen magnifiers to view webpages as well as those who are dyslexic or have other cognitive disabilities.
  5. Avoid using nondescriptive link prompts like “click here,” “read more,” or “learn more”. These links are not descriptive enough since all links are read aloud by screen readers without context.
  6. Avoid posting URLs as text in webpages since these URL links are read aloud by screen readers. For example, instead of saying, “Visit Admission at http://www.UND.edu/admission to request more information,” you should link the descriptive words or phrases, e.g., “Visit Admissions to request more information.”
  7. Tables are used for the display of tabular data only. Content in data cells is associated with headers and rows.
  8. Avoid ALL CAPS, bolding random words and underlining anything that isn’t a link.

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