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OER and Accessibility: What You Need to Know: Guidelines for Accessible Websites

This guide shows you how to create and select Open Educational Resources (OER) that are accessible to all users.

Web Sites

  1. Headings and ARIA:

Use Headings to help organize content, making it easier for everyone to read.  Heading 1 is usually a page title or a main content heading.  Heading 2 is usually a major section heading.  Heading 3 is usually a sub-section of the Heading 2.  Heading 4 through 6 are sub-sections of the previous Heading.  Also use Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) to elements to communicate document structure.

  1. Hyperlinks:

When applying hyperlinks, use meaningful or descriptive text, not a URL, and avoid terms like “click here.”  It helps all users navigate more efficiently, especially screen reader users.  In addition, use underlined text with a color different from the surrounding text.

  1. Alt-Text for Images:

Apply effective alternative (alt) text to all images, shapes, pictures, charts, tables, and SmartArt graphics.  It will help describe a visual element for those who cannot see it.  Since screen-reading software identifies an image, it is not necessary to add “picture of” or “image of.”

  1. Tables:

Wherever possible, avoid using tables since following the table content through a screen reader can be difficult.  If a table is used, make it as simple as possible and use a heading to introduce the table.

  1. Color:

The Web site interface should have sufficient contrast between text color and background color.

  1. Forms:

Forms fields should have appropriately coded labels and prompts. 

  1. Video and Sound:

If sound or video is in a document, make sure to add closed captions or subtitles to your document.

  1. Accessibility Checker:

Use available accessibility tools such as the WAVE Web Accessibility Tool.

  1. Keyboard:

Ensure that all menus, links, buttons, and any action with a mouse is accessible with a keyboard. 

  1. Reading Order:

Test the reading order of a Web page so that it is understandable to a user.  Screen readers read tables from left to right, top to bottom, one cell at a time

  1. Blinking or Flashing:

Eliminate or limit blinking and/or flashing content to 3 seconds because it may be distracting and cause seizures to occur in people with a photosensitive disorder..

  1. Standards:

Create and design Web sites according to the WCAG 2 standards and guidelines.

Audio and Video

  1. Captions:

Audio and videos must have accompanying captions or transcripts.

  1. Media Players:

Ensure that media players: support closed captions, support audio description to enable users to toggle the narration on and off, are operational without a mouse, have buttons and controls properly labeled, and have accessibility features.

Library Media Resources Center
LaGuardia Community College
31-10 Thomson Avenue, room E101
Long Island City, NY 11101
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