Design Website Content for All People, All Devices
Estimates vary, but most studies find that about 20% of the US population has some kind of disability. Not all disabilities present major obstacles to using the web, but this means that perhaps 10% of users may not be able to access the content of the University of Minnesota websites.
If you publish University websites, learn about types of disabilities, and campus and external resources that can help you design web content that is accessible to all people on all devices.
Learn About Types of Disabilities
- Visual: Blindness is an obvious one, but low vision and color-blindness or color-deficiency also fall into this category. In fact, about 8% of males have some form of color-blindness and low vision will affect many of us as we age.
- Hearing: Although there are individuals who are completely unable to hear, there are also individuals with varying degrees of functional hearing loss. About 20% of Americans -or 48 million people- have some degree of hearing loss and by age 65 that number jumps to one in three.
- Motor: These types of disabilities can affect an individual's ability to use a mouse, trackpad, or keyboard to a point where assistive technology is necessary to use a computer or mobile device.
- Cognitive: This category defies a simple definition so it can be trickier to accommodate, but generally-speaking it can include individuals who face greater difficulty performing tasks that depend on memory, problem-solving, or attention span. Cognitive disabilities can also arise from traumatic brain injury and dementia.
- Seizure: About 2% of the US population—or 5 million people—have epilepsy, but many people are unaware of their sensitivity to things like flickering lights or certain kinds of patterns or movements until they have a seizure. Some never develop seizures at all but have other symptoms instead such as headache, nausea, and dizziness. Triggering stimuli vary from person to person, but dramatic effects of flashing or flickering lights and strobe-like effects are often culprits.
Ask Yourself These Questions
- Is my content readable by everyone?
- Did I include visual cues and captions?
- Does my site support a range of input devices?
- Is my content written clearly and simply?
- Have I considered adding supplemental media (pictures, graphics, etc.)?
- Does my site have any graphics, animations, movies, or other objects which have strobing, flickering, or flashing effects?
Fortunately, there are many resources content owners and creators can use to deliver accessible websites.
If Appropriate, Use the University's Drupal Lite Platform
There are several technologies members of the University community can use to create websites. If Drupal Lite meets your other needs, it can help you create accessible websites because it has built-in accessibility features.
Consult Accessibility Resources
There are many resources on campus to help you.
- The Disability Resource Center (DRC)'s Accessible U site contains a wealth of resources, and the center also offers consultations, customized workshops, and free online learning modules.
- OIT Technology Help service desk staff can help refer you to experts.
We also recommend several external resources that may help you. See the Do-It-Yourself Resources on this page.
Everyone on campus can help make website content accessible to all people on all devices by learning more about accessibility and promoting its importance, even if you are not a website publisher or developer.
WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) provides standards excerpted from Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. It can help you understand how to apply the law in a web content setting.
Developed by WebAIM.org, this tool provides visual feedback about the accessibility of your web content by injecting icons and indicators into your page.
Looking to create a website? We have a few different tools for you to build a website - anything from a basic blog for a class assignment to a sophisticated department portal.
Content is one of the main components of a great user experience. This self-help guide walks you through the process of planning the right content to meet your website's goals. It also provides some considerations to help you maintain your...