Web Accessibility Standards & Guidelines

Measuring Accessibility

There are two recognized standards for measuring accessibility:

We have based our compliance checklist on section 508 standards.

Compliance Checklist

  1. Alternate Descriptions for Non-Text Elements
  2. Synchronization with Multimedia
  3. Use Color for Design, not Context
  4. Using Style Sheets
  5. Server-Side Image Maps
  6. Client-side Image Maps
  7. Data Table: Headers
  8. Data Table: Markups
  9. Using Frames
  10. Flashing or Flickering Elements
  11. Text-Only Alternative
  12. Using Scripts
  13. Using Applets and Plug-Ins
  14. Using Online Forms
  15. Skip Navigation Link
  16. Using Time Out Scripts

How do I make my web site accessible?

  1. Validate your XHTML and CSS
  2. Design your site with accessibility in mind
  3. Test your site for accessibility

Validate your XHTML and CSS

Assistive technology relies on valid XHTML, so make sure you start with clean html.

Design your site with accessibility in mind

Best Practices:

  • Label all images
  • Create structure (use <h1> - <h6> headings)
  • Improve navigation
  • Choose colors and contrast wisely
  • Allow for font resizing
  • Label form fields
  • Don't rely on Javascript
  • Avoid tables if possible. Only use for data tabulation.
  • Avoid pop-up windows
  • Caption video or at least have text alternative

Use web accessibility development tools:


Expression Web:

Test your site for accessibility

Choose any of the following tools/techniques to test the accessibility of your site.

Quick Check

  1. Turn off images in your browser (make sure image place holders are turned on)
  2. Turn off support for JavaScript
  3. Tab through the page, try navigating without a mouse
  4. Try to change the standard font colors and styles in your browser
  5. Try to increase the font size by using the browser (view > text size > increase)
  6. Turn off support for stylesheets, does your site still makes sense?

Evaluation Tools (web accessibility checkers)

Testing Tools - automatically check for 508 compliance.

  • Firefox extensions
  • IE toolbars
  • WAVE - free online accessibility testing tool and reading order of page.
  • CynthiaSays - a free service to help Web page authors identify and repair significant barriers to access by individuals with disabilities. It also analyzes Web pages for compatibility with various browsers.
  • LYNX emulator - This service allows Web authors to see what their pages will look like when viewed with Lynx, a text-mode Web browser.

Assistive Technology - An important part of accessibility testing is attempting to use your own site with assistive technology. Download a demo version and see if you can navigate your website.

Other Resources


UW-Whitewater approved captioning vendors

The vendor links below will take you to a page where you can create a new account, view a quick start guide, etc.

View the comparison chart to both UW-System approved captioning companies: https://kb.wisc.edu/helpdesk/page.php?id=15016.

Various How To's

Tools (digital captioning software)

  • MAGpie - Media Access Generator (Magpie), a tool to assist with making Web- and CD-ROM-based multimedia materials accessible.

Adobe Acrobat (PDF)


Adobe Dreamweaver Accessible Templates