AccessibilityContent & Writing

Web Accessibility Checker

How accessible is your site to folks with disabilities? You can find out easily with the web accessibility checker at the International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet website at .

Simply put, accessibility means making resources usable by the largest number of people possible. Techniques used to make the Internet and Web accessible can range from very simple, like adding the ‘alt’ or ‘longdesc’ attribute, to the more complex, like changing scripts, navigation and structure of a site.

When we used the web accessibility checker to test our site the results resembled a to-do list with instructions. Changing the ‘alt’ attribute for images came up several times. This is a reminder that a text equivalent for every non-text element should be provided and the use of the word ‘image’ or ‘.jpg, .gif, .bmp, .jpeg’ within the text should be avoided, which makes sense because it’s not descriptive of what the image actually is. The text used within the ‘alt’ attribute should also be shorter than 81 characters.

Applying these techniques will help a visually impaired person access the content of a web page with software which will read text and describe the images it encounters on the page.

Other suggestions that may come up when you test your site are that redundant text links should be provided for each active region of a server-side image map; and that row and column headers should be identified for data tables for example.

For resources on making your site more accessible, including a Section 508 checklist, visit the ICDRI’s .

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