Website Accessibility Requirements

In order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, websites developed by LSU units should ensure that pages are accessible to individuals using a variety of browsing methods. LSU websites incorporating multimedia, extensive scripting and/or interactive applications must provide important information contained in those features in an alternate text form in order for the information to be accessible to users with hearing or sight impairments.

The university's primary website content management solution, OU Campus, validates webpages using WCAG 2.0-AA guidelines and WAI-ARIA 1.0 content suite. Content managers in each campus unit are responsible for running the OU Campus "Accessibility Check" on pages they manage to ensure that individual pages remain in compliance.

Other Institutional Policies

Permanent administrative units and committees may adopt additional requirements and/or suggestions for their units’ webpages. These additional requirements/suggestions must comply with LSU policies and procedures.

Basic Accessibility Checklist

  • Semantic Headings - Header tags (h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6) should be used to present semantic meaning or hierarchical order. Header tags should not be used only as a means to modify the appearance of text. For instance, don’t use header markup simply because it’s large, bold text. Assistive technology relies upon the default semantic meaning that is associated with HTML elements. In particular, the h1 should be used to described the purpose or title of the page. Headers like h2, h3, etc. should be used for headlines or the identification of page sections. Header tags should be used in order and not skipped over. 
  • Avoid All Caps - Screen readers may read text that is written in all caps in the HTML and visually as the letters instead of the words. (Please note, in LSU web styles, some buttons are visually displayed in all caps, however the text in the HTML is written in title case or lowercase.)
  • Lists - Use lists to group similar information, such as links in navigation menus. Lists promote visual groups of information, which is easier for users to consume. Lists also preserve semantic associations for blind users. Lists are well supported with assistive technology.
  • Unordered Lists vs. Sequential Lists  - Content structure is important for users using assistive technology. For this reason, it is important to use proper HTML formatting for lists. Unordered lists should utilize the default bulleted list tag <ul>. Sequential lists should utilize the default alpha-numerical tag <ol>; nested sequential lists should be allowed to use the default browser encoding for nested <ol>. 
  • Blockquotes should only be used to indicate quoted text; <blockquote> allows assistive technology to render quoted text in a different manner than other text. For this reason, blockquotes should not be applied to text for aesthetic purposed only. (The blockquotes are styled in OU campus to help set this text apart for visual users, however it should not applied for the sole purpose of making text look different.)
  • Links should be clearly labeled, descriptive, and readily identified. Link text should make sense when read by itself; using generic labels like "click here" and "more" without the use of a supplemental description is discouraged.
  • Redundant links should not be used (for example, a common practice is linking an image and adjacent text to the same URL). The result of providing redundant/adjacent links is that assistive technologies, like screen readers, will read the same information twice, which results in impaired navigation. 
  • PDFs - When linking to PDFs, the link should be set to open in a new window and the link title should indicate that the browser will be downloading a PDF.
  • Tables - HTML tables should not be used for layout or to control the style of the page elements. They should only be used to convey information. Tables should never be nested. (Please note, the use of the columned intake tables in OU Campus are not HTML tables, when the page is published, the intake tables are converted into appropriately coded HTML divisions and styles.) 
  • Videos should be captioned and a text-transcript available for hearing impaired.
  • Images that convey information or meaning must have descriptive alternative text. Charts and graphs may also require additional detailed descriptions so that users can understand their purpose.

Content publishers in LSU's implementation of OU Campus have the ability to run an accessibility check each time a page is published. When the Accessibility check indicates a "Known Problem," the content publisher should cancel the publish and correct the error. If the content publisher is unsure of how to correct the problem, they should contact a web developer in the Division of Strategic Communications or a Web Administrator in the Office of Information and Technology Services for assistance.