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Accessibility: Spot Checking Part 1

You are probably wondering how I can catch accessibility errors so quickly when I glance at your websites. Certain criteria of accessible websites are actually quite easy to catch, even for the untrained eye – the visitors coming to your website can actually find certain visuals disturbing based on the concept of consistency.

We are used to how things *should* look on Tarleton’s website – Web Services defined a number of styles to spice things up and Cascade allows for different formats, but these are not always used or used properly and it shows on a page.

You can spot check and correct your own websites by identifying these areas that might be visible on your web pages.

Today’s “Spot Checking Part 1” emphasizes the following accessibility guidelines:

  • WCAG Guideline 1.3 Adaptable: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
  • WCAG Guideline 2.4 Navigable: Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
  • WCAG Guideline 3.1 Readable: Make text content readable and understandable.
Suspect #1: The Paragraph with an Identity Crisis

Paragraph is made larger by turning the text of the entire parapgrah into a heading.

How to Spot It: Normal text size and lack of bold are shown below the paragraph to show you the difference.

How to Fix It: If you look in Cascade at its format, you’ll notice that this isn’t even a paragraph. It is a Heading 4. Change the format to a paragraph and determine if anything in the content needs emphasis (bold).

Why You Should Fix It: Structurally speaking, headings provide navigation for a page, just like in a research paper. You should be able to skim through headings in order to find the area you really are interested in. Inappropriate heading usage creates information overload.

Variation 1 of Suspect #1: The List Item with an Identity Crisis

The list items are made larger by turning the text of the entire item into headings.

How to Spot It: The text size is not normal for the bulleted list and it is all bold.

How to Fix It: If you look in Cascade at its format, you’ll notice that this isn’t even a paragraph. It is one of the Headings. Change the format to a paragraph and determine if anything in the content needs emphasis (bold).

Why You Should Fix It: List items are not Headings. Structurally speaking, they are a list of items or set of instructions. They do not separate sections of content because they are the content.

Suspect #2: The Paragraph with a Bold Personality

Bold was placed on entire paragraphs. An example of a proper heading is included to show the difference.

How to Spot It: Looks like normal text size, but the entire paragraph is in bold.

How to Fix It: Un-bold the text inside Cascade, and change the format from Paragraph to Headings 4, 5, or 6. You choose this based on what heading you have previously:

  • If the last one was Heading 3, then you use Heading 4.
  • If you used Heading 4 on a section of equal importance previously, use Heading 4 on this one as well.

Why You Should Fix It: Structurally speaking, headings provide navigation for a page, just like in a research paper. You should be able to skim through headings in order to find the area you really are interested in. Inappropriate heading usage creates information overload. Bold in any context provides the reader with an idea of what you think is the most important content or information to take in. Inappropriate bolding usage creates information overload.

Variation 1 of Suspect #2: The List Item with a Bold Personality

Bold was placed on entire list items. An example of proper bolding of text on a list item is included to show the difference.

How to Spot It: Looks like normal text size, but the entire list item is in bold.

How to Fix It: Un-bold the text inside Cascade, and determine if anything in the content needs emphasis (bold).

Why You Should Fix It: Bold in any context provides the reader with an idea of what you think is the most important content or information to take in. Inappropriate bolding usage creates information overload.

Variation 2 of Suspect #2: The Link with a Bold Personality

Bold was placed on entire link. An example of a proper link is included to show the difference.

How to Spot It: Looks like normal text size for a link, but the link is bolder than usual.

How to Fix It: Un-bold the text of the link inside Cascade. For a good preventative measure, never bold text you are about to turn into a link.

Why You Should Fix It: Bold in any context provides the reader with an idea of what you think is the most important content or information to take in. Inappropriate bolding usage creates information overload. In the case of our links, Web Services already made the look of the link bold – no extra boldness is required.

Please contact me about any accessibility concerns you may have (x1819, schroeder@tarleton.edu, or set up an appointment to come by Dick Smith Library, Room 248).