Earlier this summer, we blogged about 5 common accessibility issues found on websites. If your site is free of these issues, then congratulations! Your site would perform well on the accessibility test from our third-party accessibility scanning system, Pope Tech. This software is not perfect and does not detect all accessibility errors. That means it’s up to our clients and the help of Web Services to also do a manual visual scan to ensure all accessibility errors are found and fixed when an accessibility scan is requested. Have a look at this list and see if your site is free of these issues.

1. Contextual Text on Images

Images cannot have contextual text. This is mainly because a screen reader cannot read the text on an image, therefore resulting in the user missing out on vital information and creating an unmatched universal user experience. All contextual text should be placed above, below, or beside the image.

On the other hand, decorative text can be a part of the image if it does not enhance the user’s experience. For example, the right-hand  image below of the person in front of a bookshelf, the titles of the books are decorative text.

A women selecting books from a library shelf

The text on the book titles is for decorative purposes.

Landscape photo of the Carleton University campus with Carleton University!" written in pink text overtop

A screenreader cannot read the text “Carleton University!”

2. Inadequate Video Features

For videos to be accessible, they must have all the stipulated video controls such as pause, play forward and rewind. Additionally, closed captions must be made available as well as video transcripts. As these features are built into YouTube, we host all our videos there. These video features are vital to users with hearing disabilities. It also helps users with learning disabilities, or those who are not native to the language the video is in. Accessibility is for everyone and having these video features can further enhance any user’s experience.

3. Non-Web Friendly Text

A general guideline for text is that it should be less than 50 words per paragraph and sentences should be between 20 and 50 words. Breaking up long paragraphs of text makes web content easier to comprehend for a reader and overall improves the legibility. Another web writing tip is to break up the text with bullet points or lists and avoid using italics and all caps when possible.

In terms of headings, they must be descriptive, and relevant to the content they contain. A good heading contains keywords and is short and to the point (about 8 words is ideal). They also must be used appropriately, using proper heading hierarchy. For more information on web-friendly text, visit our Paragraphs and Headings page from our Accessibility Training Workshop.

4. Banner Images Lacking Contrast

Banner images should be darkened to create enough contrast for the banner text to be legible. Here at Carleton, all banner images should be darkened to at least 50%. This can be done by editing the page on the backend of your site by scrolling down to Page Options, selecting a Banner Image Type (either Hosted or Upload), then selecting Dark (50%) for Banner Opacity.

5. Improper Use of Hyperlinks

As for hyperlinks, the URL (the full link address) must be renamed to describe the link destination. There are two key things to note here. The first is the URL must be renamed, as a screen reader may read out the URL which is unnecessary and inconvenient for users. The second part to note is a hyperlink must be renamed to a phrase that describes the URL’s destination. For example, “click here” does not describe a hyperlink, however, “for more information, visit our accessibility training on hyperlinks” does.

If you have reviewed this list, and you are still unsure if your website displays accessibility errors, you can request an accessibility scan. You can also explore our Web Accessibility Checklist, as well as more accessibility resources on our site. Lastly, in preparation for the cuTheme migration, we recommend our clients review our Accessibility Training.