Accessibility Manual for Umaryland.edu

Accessibility Main

Website accessibility means that users with disabilities have equal access and equal opportunity to browse all of the UMB websites. University web policy requires web pages and websites to be accessible.

When creating or editing your website, keep the following in mind:

Provide a text equivalent for every nontext element (such as images).
  • Informational graphics should have text equivalents (via the alt attribute). Screen readers will read this text to visually impaired users. Add alt description in T4 SiteManager by entering the text in the "Description" field when adding images to the media library.
  • Alt text should succinctly describe the content conveyed by the image. Avoid making alt text too verbose, especially if the contents of the image are simple. Avoid unnecessary text such as "image of." On the other hand, make sure to sufficiently describe more complex subjects. Whenever possible, the alt text should communicate all of the same information as the image. Complex graphics (graphs, charts, etc.) must be accompanied by equivalent text, either through alt text or a description elsewhere on the page. Never use the image's filename or any other generic non-descriptive text as alternate text.
  • Decorative/noninformative inline graphics should have alt="" (empty alt). Graphics used as links (without accompanying text description) have alt indicating link target. When graphic icons accompany link text, for example in a graphical menu, the graphics should get an empty alt.
When is text embedded in an image acceptable?
  • Text in an image is acceptable if it is part of a logo, seal, or text lockup. No additional or textual information (such as the date of an event, etc.) is allowed. Exceptions can be made if the text is minimal, easily legible, and accompanied by a live text equivalent, but this should be avoided as a general rule.
  • No images with text are allowed in templates that crop or partially cover a portion of the image on certain screen sizes. In the umaryland templates, this includes slideshowsheader imagesimage galleries, and the preview images in video galleries. Only photographic or illustrative images should be used in those templates. If you're unsure whether a template you're using meets these criteria, please contact web leadership.
  • Text in an image is always acceptable in cases where the text is incidental to the content of the image — for example, if the subject of a photograph is wearing a graphic T-shirt that has text on it.
  • Alt text is mandatory on all images, regardless of the above. In T4, alt text comes from the Description text box in the Media Library
  • If you are asked to post an image that does not meet these guidelines, you should:
    • Find out if there is any appropriate photography available — for example, if the content is about an upcoming event, there might be photography from last year's event.
    • Select an appropriate stock image. If our office purchases an image for you, the iStock credits spent would be a billable expense.
Provide equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation.
  • Provide synchronized full-text captions for publicly available video.
  • For moving-picture video content, a synchronized verbatim caption is required.
  • For voice-over narrated automated slideshows and similar content, a static transcript, cued to update upon slide change, is required.
  • Captions should include speaker identifications and “sound effects”/audio cues, where appropriate.
  • Provide full-text transcripts for publicly available audio-only presentations. Transcripts should include speaker identifications and “sound effects”/audio cues, where appropriate.
  • Video or audio should not begin playing on page load. Video should have secondary audio description, when appropriate to content.
  • A descriptive transcript — one that provides all necessary text equivalents of crucial auditory content (sounds, speaker changes, etc.) and video content (scene and character descriptions, etc.) — is an acceptable alternative to synchronized audio-only audio description.
  • For nonpublic video (or audio) with a known and controlled audience, captions (or transcripts) are not required but must be provided within a reasonable time if a need for accommodation arises.
Choose colors that color-blind viewers can distinguish.
  • Images in the content should be viewable by color-blind users. You can check colors for this characteristic at Vischeck. Additionally, essential functionality should not depend on color distinctions.
Make your navigation clear and consistent.
  • Choose clear and consistent names for your pages. The navigation object uses these page names.
Allow moving elements to be paused or stopped.
  • This gives users with vision impairment and cognitive disabilities a chance to see this moving content.
  • This is especially needed if important text is changing or moving in some way. Give all users a chance to read this content.
Avoid blinking or flashing effects.
  • Such effects can trigger a seizure. Make these optional or avoid them altogether.
Optimize images for fastest download time possible.
  • To facilitate use by text-only browsers, include the <alt> attribute of the image tag with descriptive text for every critical image. To achive this, use the "Description" field when you're adding images to the media library.
  • Spacing GIFs, bullets, and other incidental images should also use empty <alt> attributes by leaving the image "Description" field empty when adding images to the media library.
  • All image tags should also specify image height and width to improve download time.
Identify row and column headers for data tables.
  • Tables should only be used for tabular information such as information displayed in a spreadsheet or possibly a database. Avoid using tables for layout.
  • Data tables should identify row and column headers using table header markup. 
  • Use a caption element to provide a descriptive title for the table.
  • Read more about working with tables in T4 SiteManager.
An accessible mirror page (e.g. text-only or non-Flash) with equivalent information or functionality, can be provided to make a website comply with this policy, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way.
  • The content of mirror pages must be updated whenever the primary page changes.
  • Separate, up-to-date, and accessible “mirror pages” are used only as a last resort.
Do not use Flash.
  • Flash animation is not compatible with iOS mobile browsers.
Make sure all documents (PDF, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.) are accessible.
How do I identify accessibility issues?
  • The University uses an application called SiteImprove to scan the UMB website for issues relating to accessibility. Learn more about SiteImprove.