The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s website is the most important tool for communication and marketing. We strive to communicate in ways that are thoughtful and inclusive. We are constantly working to improve the website and create a better experience for everyone, which includes focusing on web accessibility.
Web accessibility refers to web content that is accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical or mental abilities, technology, native language, etc. Everyone who edits and updates our website can improve web accessibility — from web developers in IT Services to graduate assistants in academic departments. Together, we can ensure that our website content is accessible, accurate, and understandable.
Why Web Accessibility Matters
UA Little Rock is committed to diversity, inclusion, and equality. Making our website accessible is important because it benefits every person who visits ualr.edu.
Additionally, Board Policy 280.1 outlines web page accessibility guidelines and explains that each institution must monitor all web pages and remediate content that does not comply with the accessibility standard.
How We Measure Web Accessibility
We use a tool called SiteImprove to identify accessibility issues across the website so that we can resolve them.
We follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, a set of standards published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). As of January 2017, these standards align with the accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) as defined by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
SiteImprove scans the entire website. However, if you would like us to create a custom report of your site, please submit a request. For information about accessibility accommodations, please visit the university’s Disability Resource Center.
Guidelines and Standards
As a content editor, you can take steps to make your website accessible. Please follow these guidelines to improve accessibility and meet the legal requirements:
Custom Formatting – Inline Styling
Inline styling (using HTML and CSS to create things like custom layouts, custom button styles, or changing the color or size of text) goes against university web standards and can pose accessibility issues. All inline styles will be removed as part of the redesign or code audits.
Use HTML headings (like the ones used on this page) to outline and organize a page’s content into topics and subtopics. Correctly used headings make the page easier to read and easier to navigate with assistive technology. Headings should never be used for styling purposes.
The six levels of headings are:
<h1>,the page title,
<h2>, the top-level headings within the content, and
<h6> ,lower-level headings.
|This is reserved for the page title only and is placed automatically. The H1 is not to be used anywhere else on the page.
|Used for subtopics of the page
|Used for subtopics of a <h2>
|Used for subtopics of a <h3>
|Used for subtopics of a <h4>
|Used for subtopics of a <h5>
Additionally, each page must have a page title for accessibility and search engine optimization (SEO). The page title is automatically formatted as Heading 1 text, so all other top-level topics within the main content should be formatted with Heading 2 text.
Heading 3-6 formats should only be used if other topics are nested within a main topic. The body text on the page should always be formatted as paragraph text.
HTML lists should only be used to group sets of related items—never for formatting alone. If the items in the list have a specific order (e.g., the steps to apply for a scholarship), you should use a numbered (ordered) list. If the order of the items does not matter (e.g., a list of required materials for a course), you should use a bulleted (unordered) list.
Keep paragraphs short when writing for the web to make your content easier to read. Aim to use 150 words or less per paragraph.
Tables should be used for tabular data only and never for formatting or layout purposes. Using tables for visual design alone can create accessibility issues and also make the content confusing.
Using Alternative Text
Except for images only used for decorative purposes, always provide a text alternative for images. In other words, use alternative text, alt text, or an image description.
Alt text helps people who use assistive technology because it can be communicated in other ways, like through speech, braille, and simpler language. It’s also helpful in instances where an image is loading slowly or has a broken URL because the alt text will load in its place. Alt text is also helpful for SEO, increasing the likelihood that people will find your page via search.
When writing alt text for an image, describe the image as clearly and as briefly as possible. Keep in mind that popular screen readers cut off alt text around 125 characters.
Using Text on Images
Avoid using text on images. Not only can the text sometimes be difficult to read, but assistive technology can also not understand any text placed on an image. Additionally, search engines cannot scan text on images. Therefore, this will harm your site’s SEO.