For Content Creators
Many employees at the College are content creators! Whether you’re editing your department’s website, uploading course materials to Canvas, posting to your office’s Instagram account, or editing and uploading a video to YouTube, you have a responsibility to make your content accessible.
Content Creator Checklist
There are many things you can and should do as a content creator to meet accessibility requirements. This checklist is not exhaustive—visit the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 for more specific guidelines and the Web Accessibility Initiative Tutorials site for additional guidance and training.
All images should have meaningful alternative text. In general, images of text should not be used due to the difficulties this can pose to users on mobile devices, those with low vision, and those using screen readers.
For example, while you might want to upload a poster to advertise an upcoming event, the event details should also be included as part of the webpage text. The poster could be included as a design element, or as a reference, but the information contained in the poster should be created as text.
Videos and Audio Files
All embedded videos should include closed captions (per the Bowdoin Captioning Policy) at an accuracy rate equal to 99 percent or better. All audio files should include transcripts.
- Do it Yourself: Captions and Transcripts using YouTube or Panopto
- Academic Videos: Request caption editing for course-related videos
- Non-Academic Videos: To request captions for non-academic videos, contact Juli Haugen.
PDFs should not be used in lieu of creating web pages for both accessibility and usability issues. This GOV.UK article describes many of the pitfalls of using PDFs instead of HTML content.
If a PDF must be used, content creators should ensure that it is accessible. Doing so requires many of the other requirements listed in this checklist. Visit the Checklist for a More Accessible Word Document for more guidance.
Content creators should utilize headers appropriately, nesting them properly (i.e., even if you like the way an h4 looks, you should not use it as a decorative element). Use headers hierarchically and attached to meaningful terms that would enable a user to tab through sections of your page. These headers create a functional Table of Contents for website visitors.
Most platforms have built-in styles, fonts, and colors selected by that platform's designer. Content creators should not override the CSS with inline styles to avoid color contrast problems and issues with resizing text.
Tables should not be used for layout purposes. If data tables are necessary, they must include the HTML structural markup outlined in the WCAG. In many cases, finding an alternative way to present the information is preferable. Do not define cell widths to accommodate users who may need to resize text.
Meaningful Link Text
Avoid using “click here” or “read more” as link text; linking this text provides no context for a person using a speech-to-text device. Link text should be meaningful and indicate where the link is going (e.g., "download the application" or "visit the directory").
Avoid Sensory Characteristics
Because sensory descriptions relating to color, position, shape, etc. may not be meaningful to all users, do not rely on that information alone when identifying an element on your page (e.g., visit the sidebar on the left, click on the blue button).
Do you have questions about accessibility for content creators? Contact Juli Haugen or Jen Swanda.