Web & Digital Accessibility

What is web accessibility?

Web accessibility ensures that online information is accessible to everyone and provides equal access to all users, including those with disabilities. This includes visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive and neurological disabilities. Making our web content accessible to people with disabilities also benefits others, including those with changing abilities because of aging or those in temporary situations that impede their ease of accessing web content. Providing accessible website design removes barriers to information essential to our faculty, staff, students, and the community.


What is digital accessibility?

Digital accessibility is the process of making electronic resources accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. Digital accessibility encompasses web content but also includes non-web products such as hardware, software, assistive technology, and mobile apps. The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), an international working group, put together guidelines with the goal of making digital content accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or disability. Washington University strongly encourages that our digital content, including video, audio, documents, and multimedia meets the WCAG 2.0 AA standard when it will be used by students, employees, or the community.

REVIEW WASHU'S NEW ACCESSIBILITY POLICY

Learn how to build & design accessible content

When you are creating content or editing your website, there are a number of things that content creators can do to ensure your sites provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. How you add photos, links, and text can make

Accessible Links

Link text is used to describe the destination or purpose of the link. Good link text will help all users navigate your page and assist them in finding what information they need.

learn about writing link text

Images with Text

Images with text can negatively affect both your website and the user's experience in many ways. Not only do they cause problems for people with vision impairments, but also for people who are just trying to find information on your website.

learn about images with text

Plain Language, Purpose, & Readability

Plain language is not only essential for people with disabilities but also for users who are encountering an unknown topic or language. Using plain language will help all of your users find what they need, understand what they find, and use what they find to meet their needs

learn about purpose, Readability, & Language

Writing Alt Text

Adding an image or a graphic to your content without using alt text or empty alt attribute, can be extremely frustrating for people with visual impairments navigating your site through assistive technologies. Alt text is also helpful for people who have a slow internet connection or limited bandwidth. They are able to use the alt text instead of loading all of the website images.

learn about writing alt text

Headings & Structure

Individuals who are blind or visually impaired often choose to browse a webpage by headings. Individuals who can only use the keyboard for navigation can browse a webpage much faster if the page contains proper headings.

learn about headings & structure

Tools for Testing

Siteimprove

Siteimprove is software that helps you to address issues that impact the usability of your website. It can help you identify misspellings and broken links as well as provide site analytics and maintain your existing site's accessibility.  If you are a department administrator who would like access to Siteimprove or need training, please contact Amy Baker for assistance.

Learn about accessibility testing & Siteimprove

How do I improve my website's accessibility? 

In addition to regularly using Siteimprove, there are some simple things you can do as a content editor to help with your website's accessibility.  

review quick start checklist

Why should I make my website content accessible?

Providing accessible website design and materials removes barriers to information essential to our faculty, staff, students, and community.  By making your website accessible, you are automatically increasing your audience. You are not only ensuring that people with disabilities can navigate and interact with your website, but also providing ease of use, efficiency, and versatility for others. Accessibility is a shared campus responsibility. Everyone has a part in creating accessible and usable information, including websites, documents, teaching materials, and multimedia. The responsibility of creating and maintaining accessible content falls to the entire WashU community.

Additional accessibility resources

Have more questions or not sure where to start?

Contact us to be added to the Siteimprove Canvas course or ask questions about web accessibility 

contact us for accessibility help