UConn’s website is a primary way that we communicate our message with those internal and external to the community; therefore, it is vital that all pages maintain a level of consistency in appearance and functionality. For departments who use WordPress to manage their sites, University Information Technology Services has launched Aurora, a web service that runs the web content management system.
These standards apply to all sites within the UConn domain.
Web accessibility is the practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities. As an increasingly important resource, the web provides people with information and access to education, government, recreation, employment, commerce, etc. For UConn, it is critical that users have equal access to all official information and services that are provided via the University’s websites. There are millions of digital touch points with the University, which means that no one person or department can make them all accessible. As a community, we have the privilege of collaborating to create an environment in which we can find the spirit, not just the law, of accessibility.
As the state’s flagship public university, UConn must adhere to the State of Connecticut’s Universal Website Accessibility Policy which was established in 1994. The state policy adheres to the minimum levels of accessibility as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium, the international standards organization for the web. A checklist of design requirements is provided on the state’s policy website.
It is the responsibility of all webmasters to familiarize themselves with accessibility guidelines and ensure that their websites are in compliance with University and State guidelines. For information about Accessibility at UConn, and how to ensure that your website meets the University’s accessibility standards, visit https://accessibility.its.uconn.edu/.
Best practices to achieve proper ADA compliance.
- Follow the Accessibility Policy for Connecticut State Government Websites
- Test for accessibility:
- Use descriptive ALT tags on all images
- Avoid placing PDFs on your site. Whenever possible, create a page or post to display information (or put it on an existing page if that makes sense) rather than uploading a PDF. PDFs are less than ideal because:
- PDFs don't get indexed as well as HTML by search engines
- Browsers don't automatically translate them into other languages
- They can be a problem for people who use screen readers if not set up properly
- You have to do all the work of putting alt text on images anyway
- They can't be searched by internal WP search
- They aren't mobile responsive (not resizable by phones)
- To get one on an Aurora site, you need to: create it in an accessible way, upload it, link to it, make sure the link doesn't go bad or add redirects. In contrast you could just, make a page or add content to a page.
- Learn more on how to make PDFs accessible
- Don’t use tables for page layout. Tables should only be used to present data in a structured, tabular format. People with disabilities use alternative browsers such as screen readers and speech output browsers. Using alternative browsers on table-based websites can provide users with a problematic experience. Users of mobile devices (e.g., Blackberries, iPhones, Android phones) also benefit from tableless websites. Please use DIVs as an alternative.
- Don’t use “Click here” for links. Whenever possible, work links into sentences naturally.
As part of the University Alert Notification System, when an emergency arises, an alert banner is activated on uconn.edu as well as the websites for the regional campuses and School of Law. In the event of an emergency, the banner will be activated by authorized University officials, directing the community to the alert.uconn.edu site for more specific emergency instructions and information. When the emergency is clear, the banner will be removed.
The banner is no longer available or required on sites other than uconn.edu, regional campus websites, and the School of Law website.
Beyond complying with the University’s web standards, here are suggested best practices to observe while developing your site.
- Style pages using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets):
- Understand SEO (Search Engine Optimization):
- Validate your code:
- Name your files with lowercase letters only and never use spaces in the file name. You can use underscores or hyphens. The use of odd characters and spaces may result in broken links on your website.
- Try not to change file names after your site has been launched. Related websites and blogs might link to your website and changes to your file names may result in broken links on the referring sites.