Web Accessibility Guidelines

Purpose

These guidelines are intended to help members of the University community create applications, websites and digital content that are accessible to people with disabilities in a way that they can perceive, operate, understand, and fully enjoy them. 

Guidelines

Princeton’s digital accessibility policy and practices are guided by the success criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (WCAG 2.0 AA), as developed and maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). To provide  accessible digital content,  in accordance with the WCAG 2.0 AA criteria, the University recommends testing and remediation be conducted on newly-developed or deployed applications, websites or digital content as described below.

Accessible Content Authoring

When using a web content management system, such as Drupal or WordPress, or when adding content to any type of application or website, content authors should make the content accessible to people with disabilities who may rely on assistive devices to perceive and understand it. Authors should employ best practices, such as providing alternative text descriptions for images and using headings to structure written content. Authors should explore these and related topics in the 11 Key Accessibility Factors, which describes and provides an example for each accessibility topic.

Testing

In order to determine whether digital content in websites and applications is accessible to people with disabilities, and meets the WCAG 2.0 AA criteria, testing should be conducted throughout the development lifecycle. From early reviews of wireframes and prototypes, to auditing content prior to release, through ongoing maintenance and updates, accessibility testing is considered part of the overall quality assurance process. Testing includes keyboard testing, automated testing, and screen reader testing. When issues are discovered, they should be remediated based on their criticality The User Experience Office can help you understand the significance of issues uncovered in testing.  

Keyboard Testing

Content should be accessible with a keyboard alone, without reliance on a pointer device, such as a mouse. You can conduct keyboard access tests yourself by using the Tab, Escape, Return/Enter, and arrow keys, as well as the space bar, on any keyboard. Keyboard testing should also translate to accessible mobile experiences as described by the W3C.

Additional Information on Keyboard Testing

Automated Testing

While automated accessibility testing represents only one test type in a full accessibility audit, it serves a purpose in exposing issues at the code level. Automated tests can discover issues such as poor color contrast and redundant usage of ID attributes. The recommended automated testing solutions are: WebAIM’s WAVE tool and Deque’s AXE tool. Automated tests should be run regularly and any issues found should be resolved.

Additional Information on Automated Testing

Screen Reader Testing

Screen Readers are software tools that audibly describe the digital content visible on devices such as computers, tablets and mobile phones. Using a screen reader to test the accessibility of digital content is recommended since such tests will expose issues such as the labels of page elements, their role (i.e., button, link, heading), and their state (i.e., collapsed or expanded). For best results, use the following screen reader and web browser combinations:

Platform Browser Screen Reader
Mac OS Safari VoiceOver
Mac iOS Safari VoiceOver
Windows Chrome NVDA
Windows Edge Narrator
Android Chrome TalkBack

Additional Information on Screen Reader Testing

External Audits

For critical systems and applications, you should work with external vendors to perform accessibility audits. The UXO can help you determine when external resources are best suited for a project and how to procure their services. 

Training and Consultation

The UXO provides a number of training opportunities, which can be found in the Employee Learning Center and offers custom training for teams. The Usability Lab is also available for University staff, faculty, and students to schedule time for accessibility consultation to review digital content.

Related Policies and Guidelines