As a public university, the University at Buffalo adheres to state and federal mandates regarding universal accessibility.
We expect that all UBCMS websites will be in compliance with UB policies. If you have questions about accessibility, please consult the UB Accessibility website (also linked from our site-wide footer.)
Last Reviewed: November 10, 2020
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (federal ADA website), Section 508 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (federal Section 508 website) and parallel New York state regulations require websites to be fully accessible for all users. Here accessibility refers to equivalent experience for people with visual, physical or cognitive impairments. Accessible practice ensures unassisted direct access, such as sufficient font contrast and the ability to navigate without a mouse, as well as compatibility with assistive technology such as a screen reader, following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG website).
These accommodations can actually benefit all users and should be considered general best practices.
Audit your Web pages for overall accessibility compliance using the WAVE tool.
A transcript is essential for making audio content such as podcasts accessible for individuals with hearing impairments.
Electronic documents must be accessible with the use of assistive technology and presented in a format that is clear and well-organized whether they are embedded or linked from your Web page (e.g. through the File Download component).
Similarly, third party sites or systems must also be accessible. You may need to ask vendors to explain how their products are accessible, test for accessibility, and include accessibility assurances in purchase agreements.
Accessibility includes the legibility of text on our pages. The font sizes and the level of contrast between text and background colors must be great enough so people with poor eyesight can read the words.
UBCMS system-wide fonts are Web-optimized and our new Brand colors are optimized to meet ADA standards (more about our new brand palette).
Forms should be intuitively organized with clearly marked required fields and clear instructions about what information is desired. Forms must also be usable for people using screen readers or tabbing using a keyboard.
Do not use the default Other in a dropdown list with the additional text field - both will be labeled the same id. Instead use a separate and clearly labeled "other" text field.
Do not use the built in date picker. Instead provide separate day, month, and year fields.
Headings, provided by the UBCMS Title component, provide structure to the content on your Web pages. They break up your content into meaningful sections, define its hierarchical structure and provide handy anchors for deep linking or the On This Page component. WebAIM.org calls this semantic structure. Done effectively, this structure allows humans, screen readers and automated search engines to easily digest your page.
Images on Web pages must be fully accessible to screen readers. In practical terms, that means each UBCMS image must be accompanied by 'Alt Text'. Short for 'alternative text', this descriptive information allows people who cannot see the image to understand what they are missing.
Alt Text can be added to these areas:
Audit your Web pages for Alt Text compliance using the Image Accessibility Bookmarklet.
There are a variety of accessibility concerns about links, and here are some best practices:
While it is not necessary for each table to have a caption, a caption is generally very helpful. In the UBCMS, this can be added in the Table component settings, using the Caption field in Table Properties.
Tables that are used to portray data must have clearly identified row and column headings. The headings themselves can just be added to each table cells, but then the Cell Properties for the cell must be adjusted in the Table component settings to declare that it is a heading. In Cell Properties, set Cell Type to 'Header').
For the UBCMS Video (YouTube) component, we have added Alt Text to meet accessibility concerns for our websites, including supporting screen readers that are trying to 'read' the thumbnail image/play button that is shown for each video.
All videos displayed on UB websites must be made accessible to those who cannot see or hear them, which requires captioning and audio descriptions, as well as an accessible player.
To model best practice, University Communications is reviewing all videos that we manage directly (those placed on the UBCommunications YouTube channel). For these videos, we are taking appropriate action, including:
Additionally, starting University Communications will contacting UB owners of videos that are embedded on or linked to from UB’s top-level web pages to affirm there are no copyright flags on the videos.
Each unit in the UBCMS should take similar steps to ensure that any communications assets (e.g., videos) they own, manage or have placed on their pages are not in violation.
If those videos are in violation, we expect channel owners to resolve any copyright disputes, replace video soundtracks with authorized or licensed music, or advise us that the video will be taken down and is no longer available for syndication. UB cannot afford to be associated with copyright infringement.
If your department has a YouTube channel or is the owner/manager of videos on YouTube, University Communications strongly recommends that you take these steps, as soon as possible:
If your web pages link to videos owned/managed by other UB units: