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California State University, Long Beach
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Web Accessibility for Contribute Users

A printable PDF version of this guide is available here: Contribute_Accessibility_Guide.pdf

Americans with Disabilities Act Section 508 Subpart B, §1194.22 lists sixteen web publishing requirements that must be met in order for web pages to be accessible. As a Contribute user you are probably responsible for making sure one or more web pages is kept up to date but don't have to do any real web design. This means you only need to know a few accessibility rules and how to use them within Contribute. This section addresses these requirements as non-technically as possible.

Color and Visual Cues

(c) Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup.

Coloring text can be dangerous in two ways:

  1. Setting text in low contrast or unfriendly color combinations. Light-on-light, medium-on-medium, and dark-on-dark text and background present low contrast issues that make reading difficult for some people. Unfriendly color combinations are those that might look fine to you but present problems for those who have trouble distiguishing colors. For example, if you are setting up a Christmas page it would be wise to avoid the temptation of using red text on a green background.
  2. Using color to mark important text is not accessible. You must also use an accessible attribute such as italics or bold.

In addition to colored text, colors for images, especially those that convey a message or data, must also be chosen with care. The web site http://www.colblindor.com has excellent discussions and tools for understanding and avoiding color inaccessibility issues. Their page called 15 Tools If You Are (Not) Colorblind has links to a variety of these tools. Listed below are a few from that list which are easy to use and come in both Mac and Windows versions:

  • Vischeck: A colorblindness simulator plug-in for Photoshop, Windows and Mac versions.
  • Color Oracle: A colorblindness simulator for Windows, Mac and Linux.

(j) Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.

In general it is not a good idea to use flashing or blinking on your site at all. Not only must you worry about this rule and why it is there, but in truth flashing and blinking web page elements are annoying to many people, so such elements are discouraged in CSULB web sites.

(d) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.

If you were to, say, create a "P" (paragraph) style so it was large and bold like a heading you could very well be be violating this rule. Why? Because without the style sheet your "heading" would just be another paragraph, so the cues normally provided by headings would be absent. When you want a heading, use "H" (heading) styles. Read the next section to find out more about this.

Next Section: Document Outline