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Web Communications Team Tackles Accessibility Design Issues

DePaul’s recent website accessibility enhancements are helping to ensure that web content is accessible to a wide range of people with visual impairments and other disabilities, including blindness, photosensitivity and deafness. The enhancements comply with industry standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium’s web content accessibility guidelines, known as WCAG, or more specifically, WCAG 2.0

EMM’s Web Communications department—responsible for top-level depaul.edu site design and navigation, graphic and branding standards, and content management—has made modifications to 78 websites and 19,689 webpages, since the improvement process began in spring 2016. The department has been working with the Office of the General Counsel and the Center for Students with Disabilities as part of a university web accessibility taskforce.

“Web accessibility has been on our radar,” shares Sharon Miller, director of Web Communications. “It’s an issue that requires ongoing attention. We’re taking a best-practices approach, with a focus on continuous improvement.”

The design enhancements include: 
  • Requiring text alternatives on non-text content (closed captions on videos and descriptive text for assistive screen readers to interpret images)
  • Implementing a play/pause option on all auto-playing videos
  • Adjusting color-contrast ratios on webpages and webpage template designs 
  • Establishing keyboard navigation (the option to navigate a webpage using a keyboard only, i.e., without a mouse)
  • Creating a website accessibility support request form, available on the Contact Us page on the footer of all DePaul sites

These changes reflect DePaul’s commitment to improving website accessibility. Since technology is always changing and new content is always being added to websites, the taskforce will continue to address and find solutions to issues that arise, and EMM’s Web Communications will continue to play a vital role in these ongoing efforts.