Accessible Technology

Accessible Websites

Web accessibility is the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent access to information and online functionality. A website is accessible when it can be easily understood and used by everyone, regardless of the browser or adaptive equipment used.

In order to assure that websites and web applications are both accessible and usable, programmers and digital content managers must follow web accessibility guidelines. Michigan Tech has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (AA conformance level) to measure, coordinate, and implement compliance with the University Accessible ICT policy.

Web Accessibility Tutorials

Michigan Tech has developed the following tutorials to help our campus community create accessible websites. We strive to continually modify and expand these tutorials.

Content Creators and Editors

The following tutorials are for content creators and editors who work within OU Campus, within other campus CMS products, or webmasters responsible for the architecture and implementation of entire websites. Many of these concepts can be applied using built-in visual CMS editors.

Web Programmers

The following tutorials are for web programmers who are managing and/or modifying HTML, CSS, and/or Javascript, or for webmasters responsible for the architecture and implementation of entire websites.

Checking a Website for Accessibility

Verify that your webpages are accessible by using the following tools:

  1. Validate your HTML. If HTML is implemented incorrectly, assistive technology can have problems interpreting the page content, which can result in accessibility issues.
  2. Test with a keyboard. Use the tab key of your keyboard to navigate through your web pages. You should be able to access all interactive features and operate them by pressing Enter, space, arrow keys or other intuitive keystrokes. If you are unable to access some of your site’s features without a mouse, your site has accessibility issues.
  3. Use an accessibility checker. There are several free online tools that will check your web pages for accessibility:
    1. WAVE Web Accessibility Tool
    2. Accessibility Developer Tools (Google Chrome Add-on)
    3. Color Contrast Analyzer (single ratio)
    4. Color Contrast Analyzer (browser plugin for full pages)
  4. Test with screen reader users. Test your site by recruiting and observing screen reader users as they interact with your site. To test for accessibility, recruit users who have a variety of skill levels and characteristics. If you do not have access to a screen reader, contact the accessible technology coordinator.
  5. Ask for help. Michigan Tech has formed an accessible technology working group to collectively work toward the goal of full accessibility for all visitors to its websites. Reach out to the group for advice and assistance.