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The Importance of Web Accessibility

Help provide equal access and opportunity for all web users by making your website more accessible.

Our topic for this web newsletter is accessibility! Web accessibility refers to the practice of making sure all website visitors have equal access to information and functionality. Accessible sites are designed, developed and edited to remove barriers that prevent interaction or access, particularly for people with disabilities. 

The web team is taking steps to improve the accessibility of our website from a technology standpoint, but there are many things YOU can do as a web editor to make your department or office webpage more accessible!

Tip 1: Include alternative text on images

Alternative text, or alt-text, is text that can be associated with an image and that will display if an image fails to load. It is also what is picked up by text readers for the visually impaired, and it is crawled by search engines like Google so it can help your site's SEO. Whenever you upload new images for use on your website please make sure to populate the "alternate text" field with a short description of the image. For more information read our tutorial on uploading images, and check out WebAIM's guide to alternative text.
Example of good alt text: "Occidental students pose at Walt Disney Concert Hall"

Tip 2: Write descriptive copy for all links

When adding a link within your content, make sure the text that is linked is unique and descriptive. Instead of saying something like "click here for more information about web accessibility," include a description of the webpage you are linking to within the link text itself. For example, "check out Oxy's website on accessibility to learn more!"

Tip 3: Avoid putting lots of text in images

Including a large amount of text content within an image causes a number of usability problems, including readability and accessibility. Site visitors who use text readers, such as those with visual impairments, will not be able to read your content if it is included within an image instead of as text on the page. Moreover, all users will have difficulty reading any text within an image when it is sized down (such as on a mobile device), and search engines like Google will not be able to read your content for display in search results. As a general rule of thumb keep text within images to a minimum, and include supplementary information as body copy on your website.
DON'T put text, especially important information, directly within your image as shown above. DO include any supporting text as copy on your page, as shown in the next example.
Visit the Oxy web team during office hours to learn how to update your website! We are in the oMac lab on Tuesdays 10am-noon and Wednesdays 1-3pm.

Tip 4: Caption your videos

If you are posting video content to your page, make sure that it is captioned! Our Disability Services team works with an outside vendor to caption any and all video content; the captioning work usually takes about 7 days. Before posting any video content to your website simply email Luci Masredjian, Oxy's Disability Services Coordinator, to initiate a captioning request.

For More Information

You can also reach out to Oxy's web team with questions about accessibility on the web, or email Luci Masredjian, Oxy's Disability Services Coordinator, with general questions about accessibility!

Get Web Help

Explore step-by-step tutorials
Get in-person help at office hours
Contact the Technology Help Desk

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Share your feedback and ideas for improving the college website.

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  • Feature/functionality requests
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For specific requests for changes, updates, and additions to your website, please email helpdesk.
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