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Accessibility Guidelines

Imagine having a disability that limits your sight, hearing, or mobility. The Internet and computers have opened up a whole new world to the millions of people in this situation. Computers can read aloud text that appears on a screen. They provide a way for people with hearing and speech impairments to communicate easily — and computers understand and implement voice commands for individuals with limited mobility.


Accessible web pages have been constructed to be useable by anyone — even if they are using assistive technology to access the web page. Examples of assisted technology are screen readers, screen magnifiers, voice recognition software, alternative keyboards, and braille displays.

Why Accessible?

Making your web site work for everyone can make a huge difference to users with disabilities. An estimated 20 percent of the population in the United States (40.8 million individuals) has a disability and 10 percent (27.3 million individuals) has a severe disability.


OSU Policy: It is the policy of Oklahoma State University to ensure that university web pages are usable by people with disabilities.

Federal Regulations: The Americans With Disabilities Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires public institutions, such as universities to have accessible web sites. It is interpreted to apply to the Internet as well as physical spaces.

Making Your Website Accessible

  • Avoid misleading use of structural elements on pages.
    • Use a heading tag for all headings and use them in sequential order.
    • Use a list structure for listed items.
    • Use a blockquote for quoted material.
  • Do not use display fonts that cannot be resized such as pixels, points, or picas.
    • Acceptable variable font size values includes ems, percentage, named values xx-small to xx-large, and exs.
  • Avoid using tables for page layout.
    • Use variable column and page widths.
  • Don't only show information in an image, such as a flyer, poster, or infographic.
    • Add text alternatives, such as alt tags.
    • If the text in the image is longer than a sentence, also reproduce its contents on the page as regular text.
  • Use good color contrast.
    • Contrast is a measure of the difference in perceived "luminance" or brightness between two colors.
    • Should be 4.5:1 at minimum.

Quick Accessibility Guide

  • Alt Tags (Descriptions) - All graphics within a website must contain an 'alternate tag' for accessibility. Alt tags should be concise but descriptive enough for the user to gain an accurate idea of what the image portrays.
  • Image Maps - All image maps must have alt tags for hotspots and a properly set tab index.
  • Hyperlink Titles - Each hyperlink title is meaningful and adequately describes the link's destination.
  • Tables - Avoid the use of tables except where they are necessary to display data in a table format.
  • Frames - Avoid using frames if possible. If you use frames, to be accessible, each frame must be given a title that helps the user understand the frame's purpose, and equivalent no frames information must be provided.
  • Charts & Graphs - The content and meaning of a chart or graph must be described in text to make it accessible to all users.
  • Forms - Form elements must be tagged with the label attribute. Contact information must be provided on each page with a form.
  • Skip Navigation - Provide a way to skip over navigational menus or other lengthy lists of links.
  • Cascading Style Sheets - When Cascading Style Sheets are used, the web page must make sense when the style sheets are turned off.
  • Scripts, Events, & Plug-Ins/PDF - Provide contact information on each page with a script, applet, or plug-in so that users can ask questions or request the information in an alternative format.
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