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Web Accessibility

The Shippensburg University Information Technology Accessibility Plan outlines our commitment to providing equal access to information technology.

What is accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the ability of anyone regardless of their age, disability, type of device or internet connection to be able to have the same access to the internet as everyone else. Businesses and nonprofit organizations are required by title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure that they make accommodations that allow disabled members of society to have the same access as clients without a disability. According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the access to information and the ability to use the internet and other communications technologies is a basic human right. To make a website accessible to all people, designers must first keep in mind disabilities that can affect the ability to access the internet.

Introduction to Web Accessibility and W3C Standards [YouTube video]


Accessibility Design Principles

Heading Structure and Reading Order

Make sure the user can logically navigate the headings and content. People navigating with their keyboard will expect to be able to move from left to right and top to bottom with their tab key.

  • Screen readers convert text into audio and must go through the content one at a time.
  • The heading styles should define the hierarchical structure and accurately represent the content of the page.
  • Avoid text formatting to give the appearance of headings.

Color Contrast and Text

When designing a webpage, there must be a significant contrast between the foreground and background colors so that users with low vision and color blindness can easily navigate your site. The text on a web page needs to be readable and understandable for as many people as possible.

  • Avoid caps lock because screen readers have trouble reading them correctly.
  • The minimum font size is 10.
  • Make sure you're careful with orange, yellow, and shades of gray.


Functional links are one of the most critical aspects of web accessibility. They allow all users to navigate websites and interact with their content. Broken or inaccurate links prevent the user from accessing the information on a website and dramatically reduces the sites overall accessibility.

  • Ensure the links on a page can be recognized through underlines or anything that can make them visible to the user.
  • Make sure user can find links when they are using a keyboard.
  • Create an accessible keyboard link at the top of the web page to skip navigation.
  • Make sure the text of your link can make sense on its own.

Web accessibility addresses:

Visual Impairment - Web designers should consider visual impairments, including blindness, poor vision and color blindness when designing a website. Visually impaired users often use to screen readers, which are applications that analyze and reads aloud the content on the web page.

Auditory Disabilities - Deafness or hearing impairments must be considered due to the large amount of multimedia, audio and video available on websites. It is necessary to provide transcripts and captions so that individuals with auditory disabilities are not left out.

Motor Disabilities - These include Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and a stroke. This refers to an inability or difficulty performing tasks with your hands such as tremors, lack of fine muscle control and muscle slowness.

Cognitive Disabilities - This includes disabilities that affect learning, attention, reading, verbal comprehension and processing large quantities of information

Epilepsy - These are seizures caused by flashing lights.

How-to Articles

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