The university is committed to ensuring digital accessibility and improving the online
user experience for all of our visitors and community members. Follow the instructions
for each dimension of your digital content to ensure compliance with digital accessibility
Why is digital accessibility so important?
To provide an excellent user experience on our websites, apps, digital tools and social
media accounts as well as in our emails and while developing classroom materials,
we must consider the accessibility of our digital content.
Easier Use for All
While it is true that those with disabilities often use assistive technology like
screen readers or keyboards to navigate online, optimizing our digital experiences
to comply with accessibility guidelines ensures that our content serves all students,
community members and other visitors excellently.
Creating Accessible Digital Content
All videos should be close-captioned to assist visitors who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Captions also let sighted viewers listen and read simultaneously, which often aids
in information recall.
Do this: Add captions to all videos that you plan to ask others to engage with.
Not that: Never rely on auto-captioning provided by third-party video hosts such as YouTube,
which relies on speech recognition technology and is often inaccurate. Although you
may use these auto-generated captions as a starting point, you will still need to
edit them to ensure they are correct.
Captioning Videos »
Describing Audio »
Link text should make it easy for a user or screen reader to understand where a link
will take them. Screen readers often combine all links on a screen into a list to
make navigation faster.
Do this: Replace any vague link text with text that’s clear about the link destination.
Not that: Links reading “Click Here” or “Learn More” are vague because they don’t explain the
Writing Link Text »
Screen readers read the field labeled alternative (alt) text to describe an image.
The field is required for any image placed on your digital product. Alt text isn’t
just functional, it should be written in a way that enhances your product.
Do this: Describe the content of the image. Include any information or locations that are
specific to the university. Be descriptive but succinct. Use our alternative text guidelines to help with writing alt text.
Not that: Writing "image of" or "photo of" before an image description is redundant. A screen
reader says the content type before reading the description.
Writing Alternative Text »
Color and Contrast »
Many PDFs and Word files aren’t accessible, which makes it difficult or impossible
for screen readers to read the content to users. It is better to present the content
as a web page.
Do this: Create web pages for your document content. When you must use a PDF or Word file,
use our document guidelines to help make your documet user friendly for everyone.
Not that: Posting content in PDFs or Word documents is not a good practice as most users prefer
browsing on a page.
Document Guidelines »
Screen readers help a user navigate a product by reading the headings. If the screen
has no headings, the screen reader reads every line. Ideally, a site viewer should
be able to grasp what the content is about just by reading the headings.
Do this: Give your text headings in sequential order (h1-h6). Write headings in a way that
summarizes your content for skimming the screen.
Not that: Headings that are out of order or missing will confuse screen readers and their users.
Organizing Headings »
Screen readers need header rows to make sense of your columns and to navigate the
data table. If a table doesn't have a header row, the screen reader may not be able
to understand how cells relate to each other.
Do this: Build tables using the snippets provided in OU Campus, which provides a header row
Not that: Don't delete the default header row, and make sure to update the column headings
with appropriate text.
Creating Tables »
Screen readers have a mode that’s just for reading forms. Only accessible forms created
with Formstack and OU Campus are approved by Communications and Public Affairs.
Do this: Build forms only in OU Campus or Formstack. Move all third-party forms onto these
platforms. Put all descriptive text before or after the form on the page, not within
the form itself.
Not that: Creating forms using other platforms like Google or Wufoo risks the accessibility
rating for university pages. If a third-party vendor needs to be checked for accessibility,
please notify the committee using the questions and issues form.
Creating Forms »