The Need For Electronic Accessibility
The Internet provides everyone quick and easy access to information, and it offers people with disabilities a way to obtain information without having to rely on others for assistance. Yet navigating web sites and utilizing web-based tools can be difficult, sometimes impossible, for people with disabilities.
The University of California Information Technology Accessibility Policy requires compliance with the WCAG 2.0 level AA standards for all web-base information.
The Spectrum of Ability
Visual: Blind, low-vision, color-blind, forgotten reading glasses
Hearing: Deafness, hard-of-hearing, limited range hearing, no earbuds
Cognitive: Learning disabilities, distractibility, tired
Motor: Slower response time, limited fine motor control, on a bumpy vehicle
Disabilities can be permanent, temporary or situational. Providing for accessibility, in all its forms, benefits everyone.
UCOP's Web Accessibility Initiative
Having a presentable website has become the cornerstone of digital marketing. While many websites are primarily content driven, oftentimes it is desired to decorate the site in order to attract more attention from visitors. However designing a site without the user in mind can lead to many issues in terms of usability and accessibility.
In order to promote good web practices and accessibility by design, UCOP has put together a comprehensive Electronic Accessibility site that outlines accessible website principles, standards, initiatives, names resources, and highlights tools. You can also view UCOP's "What you can do for accessibility" guide.
Siteimprove is a cloud service that enables you to systematically review your sites for accessibility, SEO, and best practices. Sites that have been entered into the system are crawled every five days. Reports are generated identifying errors and how to fix them. There are several types of reports.
- Accessibility: Problems with web pages and PDF documents in relation to the WCAG international standards.
- Quality Assurance: Broken links, misspelled words, and readability issues, including an inventory of your pages, documents, media files, email addresses, and other content.
- Search Engine Optimization: Technical, content, user experience, and mobile-related website issues affecting your non-paid search ranking.
- Policy: Style-guide violations or other issues (e.g., terminology, branding/trademarks, file sizes, page structure) based on industry best practices or your customized policies.
UCOP's Electronic Accessibility site contains a resource on Siteimprove. Please see the page on checking website accessibility with Siteimprove. This will help you through the process.
Scanning Your Sites
UC has a systemwide contract with Siteimprove. To get a Siteimprove account and start scanning your sites, please follow the following steps:
- Log-in to Siteimprove to get an account. You will be added as a "Location Learner" and will not have any sites initially associated to your account. As a Location Learner, you can access all Siteimprove trainings.
- Request access to site reports with a Campus Web Solutions service request. Send the list of URLs you want scanned by Siteimprove. If multiple people from your department signed up as well, you can send one request and list the people who need access to those reports.
- You may need to wait a few days before reports are generated, if a site is new to being scanned. Keep checking back and review trainings in the meantime.
If you are not using Acquia's Drupal CMS, you can opt to add the Siteimprove Priority Script Code to your site. This is completely optional.
If you have any questions or need to make changes to the sites that are scanned, please email email@example.com. Additionally, Siteimprove itself has a support network within the tool.
Things to note:
- Sites that are not UC Regents owned will not be added to Siteimprove. (This means, no personal websites.)
- Siteimprove monitors UC public facing sites. To test password-protected sites, use the Siteimprove Chrome extension. If your site does not contain any personal data and has a general log in, your site can be considered for scanning, please see checking non-public facing websites. The site will be up for review before added to Siteimprove.
- Siteimprove does not take the place of manual testing.
How to use Siteimprove
For Siteimprove courses as well as all training webinars, you'll want to log in to Siteimprove. There is a Help Center and Academy tab available at the top right. Under "Get Started" there are webinars to sign up for.
Additionally, we have a specific "Welcome to Siteimprove" section for UC. You'll need to be signed in to Siteimprove to view.
It may be helpful to start with the Siteimprove User Training recording and the "in-app training tutorials". The "Academy" has an array of accessibility courses. These are also up on our LMS (see below).
The University of California Learning Center provides the same accessibility courses. These include web, document, and multimedia formats, and specific by role for instructional designers (in the classroom), purchasing, web designers, and developers.
To view the entire topic: Accessibility (under Technology, Systems, and Software)
Siteimprove Tip Sheets
These tip sheets are pdf documents covering quick tips for accessibility. Learn how to make documents, websites, videos, and emails accessible.