Website Accessibility

Miami's website meets accessibility standards as outlined in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. These standards are part of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), a working group of World Wide Web Consortium. Section 508 of Rehabilitation Act outlines many of these requirements, and all website editors and publishers should be familiar with them.

What does UCM do to make sure Miami's web content is accessible?

We validate our pages using Total Validator, a free application that seeks answers to questions of accessibility, like the following:

  • Is all the content/code properly formatted?
  • Can all the content on the page be read by a screen reader?
  • Are any images missing Alternate Text?

Within the Miami templates, we provide skip links so visitors can tab directly to the important parts of the page (Skip to the body content, skip to the main navigation, and skip to the contact information). Skip links are not a part of the display but are read by screen readers.

We also check the color scheme of our sites for compatibility with various types of colorblindness (high contrast is key!).

What should YOU do to make sure your web content is accessible?

Add alternate text to images

Fill in the alternate (alt) text field for EVERY image inserted into your web pages. Alternate text is a short description of the scene within the image. Avoid phrases like "logo," "image of," "photo." It should include any text that is part of the graphic. The alt text is read out loud by a screen reader and shows up if images have been disabled in a browser. For further explanation on how to write effective alt text, see WebAIMS's article on Alternative Text.

Provide a longer text alternative for infographics

For images that are "information-dense" (such as diagrams and flowcharts), we recommend using HTML to render the information instead of using the image file. However, if that is not possible, you will still have to provide a text alternative. We recommend that this description resides on the same page, with a link before the infographic to the text alternative (e.g., "text alternative for web accessibility infographic"). Before the text alternative, include a heading for it, such as "Text Alternative." (If the text alternative is on the same page, then the link will be a jump link; otherwise, it will link out to the page on which the text alternative resides.) 

Closed-caption ALL videos

Video that is embedded within a Cascade web page must be captioned. Although you can use the software of your choice, we recommend YouTube. (If you are not sure what file format to use, see Supported YouTube file formats.) YouTube supports the ability to upload a transcript, which it can read and try to sync for auto-captioning. However, please be aware that while automatic captions can be used as a starting point, they often prove wildly inaccurate and thus, should not relied upon as the sole resource for the captions. Editing is required.

Keep in mind that some video will also require audio description if much of the content is not conveyed through the spoken word. 

Use descriptive link labels

Never use the phrase, "Click here." Instead try, "Visit Miami's Office of Liberal Education."

If you are linking to a file instead of a web page, add the file type and size at the end of the link (e.g., Health Insurance Application Form (PDF 102KB)).

Use Headings within the content

Format your content with Heading tags instead of bolding and/or italicizing paragraphs. Use them in descending order (beginning with H2) to keep your content hierarchically organized.

Following these guidelines will not only make your content accessible to ALL of your audiences but will also help improve your search engine rankings.

You and your fellow web editors can use Total Validator to make sure that your content is meeting the needs of every site visitor.