Georgia Highlands College

Making it Accessible (on the web)

1. Provide descriptive hyperlinks
2. Provide text equivalents
3. Choose colors carefully
4. Ensure readability of content
5. Use semantic markup properly
6. Use headers for data tables
7. Provide equivalent alternatives for multimedia
8. Create accessible web content
9. Web accessibility evaluation tools
10. Accessibility Cheatsheets
11. Pally Accessibility Checker

On this page, you will find links to in-depth and step-by-step instructions, video and articles about how to make web pages and sites accessible.

Provide Descriptive Hyperlinks

Hypertext links are one of the most basic elements of HTML, as its name implies (HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language). As such, making hypertext links accessible is one of the most basic and most important aspects of web accessibility.

Provide Text Equivalent for all Non-text Elements

Adding alternative text for images is the first principle of web accessibility. It is also one of the most difficult to properly implement. The web is replete with images that have missing, incorrect, or poor alternative text. Like many things in web accessibility, determining appropriate, equivalent, alternative text is often a matter of personal interpretation. Through the use of examples, this article will present our experienced interpretation of appropriate use of alternative text. 

Choose Colors Carefully

Simply select or enter a foreground and background color in RGB hexadecimal format (e.g., #fd3 or #f7da39). Select the lighten and darken options to modify the colors slightly. You can use the color picker to change colors or change luminosity.

Choose foreground (text) and background colors carefully. If the two colors are too close to the same hue, they may not provide sufficient contrast for some visitors, including those who are colorblind or suffer from low vision.

Choose a font family that is easy to read by all users. Just because it looks cool isn't a good reason to use it – especially if it is going to be hard for users to read. Also, always list more than one font to ensure at least one other font will be used – not just the default.

Ensure Readability of Content

Write Clearly and Simply

"The task of writing clearly and simply has never been either clear or simple. In fact, it can be one of the most difficult of all writing tasks. Clear and simple writing is an art to which many aspire and few achieve. Even so, the understandability of web content depends upon clear and simple writing. Unclear or confusing writing is an accessibility barrier to all readers, but can be especially difficult for people with reading disorders or cognitive disabilities."

Typography and Fonts

Write for the Medium

Jakob Nielsen, formost web usability and accessibility researcher, offers seven suggestions:

"A wall of text is deadly for an interactive experience. Intimidating. Boring. Painful to read.
Write for online, not print. To draw users into the text and support scannability, use well-documented tricks:
  • subheads
  • bulleted lists
  • highlighted keywords
  • short paragraphs
  • the inverted pyramid
  • a simple writing style, and
  • de-fluffed language devoid of marketese" (The Top 10 Mistakes of Web Design)

Use Semantic Markup Properly

Using headings for content structure. Using headings and lists correctly.

Use Row/Column Headers for Data Tables

Provide Equivalent Alternatives for Multimedia

Creating Accessible Web Content

Office 2010 Accessibility Checker.

Microsoft Office 2010 has built-in accessibility checkers. All you have to do in any Microsoft Office 2010 software is go to the File tab, choose the Info menu item (if it isn't selected already), and then click the "Check for Issues" button and choose "Check Accessibility" from the drop down menu.


Before you read about creating accessible PDF documents, you should consider the disadvantages of the format, explained by Jakob Nielsn in his list of the Top 10 Mistakes in Web Design. Nielsen writes:

"Users hate coming across a PDF file while browsing, because it breaks their flow. Even simple things like printing or saving documents are difficult because standard browser commands don't work. Layouts are often optimized for a sheet of paper, which rarely matches the size of the user's browser window. Bye-bye smooth scrolling. Hello tiny fonts.

Worst of all, PDF is an undifferentiated blob of content that's hard to navigate.
PDF is great for printing and for distributing manuals and other big documents that need to be printed. Reserve it for this purpose and convert any information that needs to be browsed or read on the screen into real web pages."

Creating accessible PDFs in Word 2010

After you have created a Word document, you can save your file as a tagged PDF by following these steps:

1. Click the "File" tab, and then click "Save As."
2. In the Save As dialog box, click the arrow in the "Save As Type"  list, and then click PDF.
3. Click "Options."
4. make sure that the "Document tags for accessibility" check box is selected, and then click "OK."
5. Click "Save."


screenshot of save pdf

Creating Accessible PDFs from Word 2007 and 2013

For instructions for creating accessible PDFs in Word 2007 and 2013,



"Flash designs are easier for users with disabilities to use when designers combine visual and textual presentations, minimize incessant movement, decrease spacing between related objects, and simplify features." (Nielsen)

"Despite the ability of Flash to create highly accessible content, there are some major issues you must be aware of regarding Flash and accessibility. Nearly all of the concepts that affect HTML accessibility can also apply to Flash. These include using plenty of contrast, consistent navigation, understandable language, etc." (WebAIM)

Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools

WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool provided by WebAIM. It is used to aid humans in the web accessibility evaluation process. Rather than providing a complex technical report, WAVE shows the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal the accessibility of that page.

Source & Copyright: WebAIM

The WebAIM site contains the following copyright statement::
"All content on this Web site may be reproduced and distributed in print or electronic format only if offered at no cost to recipients and as long as full credit is given to WebAIM, including a link to the WebAIM Web site or clearly printed, and as long as our copyright notice (e.g., "Copyright © WebAIM") remains intact. 

NCDAE Accessibility Cheatsheets

A series of informative accessibility pamphlets, or “cheatsheets,” have been developed to assist anyone who is creating accessible content. These resources are catered to less-technical individuals, such as faculty and staff, and are available to all.

There are cheatsheets for the following:
1. Microsoft Word and  PowerPoint 2007/2010
2. Converting to PDFs from: Word  and PowerPoint 2007/2010
3. Captioning YouTube videos

Pally Automated Web-page checker

One of the newest and easiest to use accessibilit-checker for web pages is Pally, available for free.
The Chronicle of Higher Education describes hw Pally works.



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