Ensuring your content is useful for all

Making sure that your content is accessible to all is a good practice from a marketing and communications perspective, but, where the college website is concerned, it’s also federal law. All Title IV institutions (those that award federal financial aid to students) are expected to comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. This 1998 amendment to the original 1973 legislation addresses accessibility concerns in electronic and information technology, including web-based intranet and internet information and systems.

The criteria that apply to the college website are based on access guidelines developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

View the full Web Content Accessibility section within Sitecore Resources »

Multimedia accessibility

If you use an audio, video or other multimedia file, you must also provide additional content so that individuals with disabilities have comparable access to the verbal and nonverbal communications.

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PDF accessibility

CCBC is also legally required to ensure all online documents are accessible by assistive technologies including screen readers. PDFs can contain text, links, buttons, form fields, audio, video and diagrams. PDFs must be in a format that individuals with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with in the same manner as individuals without disabilities.

  • Write clear and concise content with meaningful text alternatives for images. Don’t forget to label all images and table column headers. Use headings to convey meaning and structure.
  • Design the PDF with accessibility in mind. Provide sufficient contrast between foreground and background. Clearly identify interactive elements. Don’t use color alone to convey information. Use headings and spacing to group related content. Design for different viewpoints (sizes).
  • For interactive documents, ensure that all fields are clearly labeled and interactive elements are keyboard accessible. Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
  • Correct warnings and violations found in the Microsoft Word accessibility checker. Save as an unlocked PDF. Then, use Adobe Acrobat to test for accessibility violations. If accessibility violations persist and are difficult to troubleshoot, test the PDF with assistive technology for a true diagnostic.

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