Web Accessibility Standards

Section 508 and Oklahoma Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility (EITA) Law are only a minimum standard for accessibility and Web pages. Developers and Web Managers are encouraged to go beyond the minimum whenever possible by referring to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Web Communications is the central point of contact for Web-related accessibility questions.

NSU Standards Reference and Resources Implementation Guidelines

a. A meaningful text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content) except for captioning of audio information which shall comply with (b) of this section.

Reference Standards


Required: Informational graphics have text equivalents (via the alt attribute). Links to long descriptions, in-page or external, are provided when alt attribute descriptions are insufficient, for example, in the case of descriptions of charts or graphic tables.

Required: Decorative/non-informative inline graphics have alt="" (empty alt) in HTML or set as an Artifact in PDF.

Required: Graphics used as links (without accompanying text description) have alt indicating link target.

Strongly Recommended: When graphic icons accompany link text, for example in a graphical menu, the graphics should get empty alt. Example:
<a href="foo.html"><img src="/portals/10/foo-icon.png" alt=""> Foo</a>

b. Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.

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Required: Synchronized full text captions are provided for publicly available video.

  • Note: For moving-picture video content, a synchronized verbatim caption is required.
  • Note: For voice-over narrated automated slide shows and similar, a static transcript, cued to update upon slide change is required.
  • Note: Captions should include speaker identifications and “sound effects”/audio cues, where appropriate.

Required: Full text transcripts are provided for publicly available audio-only presentations.

Note: Transcripts should include speaker identifications and “sound effects”/audio cues, where appropriate.

Required: Video or audio does not begin playing on page load.

Strongly Recommended: Video has secondary audio description, when appropriate to content.

Note: A descriptive transcript — one that provides all necessary text equivalents of crucial auditory content (sounds, speaker changes, etc.) and video content (scene and character descriptions, etc.) — is an acceptable alternative to synchronized audio-only audio description.

Note on when captions/transcripts are required: For non-public video (or audio) with a known and controlled audience, captions (or transcripts) are not required but must be provided within a reasonable time if need for accommodation arises.

c. Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup. Ensure that foreground and background color combinations provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone having color deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen.

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Required: Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.

Required: There is sufficient foreground/background contrast when viewed by someone with low-vision or a color deficit.

Recommended: Author has tested to ensure colors are distinguishable to users with common forms of colorblindness.

Author has tested with a color contrast analysis/checker tool or equivalent to ensure W3C standards for foreground/background contrast are achieved.

d. Documents shall be organized so that they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.

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Required: Turning off stylesheets or in reflow does not negatively impact content order or make the meaning of previously styled elements ambiguous.

Negative example: CSS positions the content for visual reading but the HTML source does not have a logical reading order.

Negative example: Stylesheets provided an important visual cue that is not also present in text in the HTML source or rendered DOM.

Required: Properly nested headings organize the content sections of web pages, including using visually-hidden (“off-left”) headings where appropriate to create page semantics.

Required: Pages have a title element in the head of the document. The title should provide the name of the page and contextual information to help orient the user within the web site. The title should be unique within the site whenever possible.

Strongly Recommended: Major navigation elements (menus) are implemented as HTML unordered lists.

Strongly Recommended: Pages declare a base document language using the lang attribute on the body (e.g., lang="en"). Any non-default language text is identified using the lang attribute on the parent element.

Strongly Recommended: HTML is used “semantically” to organize and help provide meaning to content (e.g., lists are implemented with list elements, block quotes are implemented with blockquote elements, etc.)

Strongly Recommended: Major content sections are identified by using WAI-ARIA landmark roles.

Strongly Recommended: Document source and tab order aligns with visual display order. This guideline should extend to pages that reorient content sections (columns, etc.) when displayed at narrower widths, for example in the case of responsive web design accommodating mobile browsers.

Recommended: It is possible to enlarge page text to twice the default size without loss of functionality or content (clipping) or making it necessary to scroll horizontally to read the content.

e. Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map.

Reference Standards


Required: Server-side image maps are used only when non-geometric/solely positional input is required and an alternative accessible input method is provided in such cases.

f. Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape.

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Required: Clickable regions of client-side image maps are properly identified with alt attributes.

g. Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables.

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Required: Data tables identify row and column headers using th tag.

Required: If tables are used for layout, a logical reading order is maintained.

Strongly Recommended: Summary attribute is used to explain the purpose and structure of the table.

Strongly Recommended: Caption element is used to provide a descriptive title for the table.

Recommended: HTML tables are used for organization of tabular data, primarily, with CSS used for layout.

h. Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers.

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Required: Simple HTML data tables (that, is, not layout tables) have scope (row or col) set on table header cells.

Strongly Recommended: Complex HTML tables (i.e., those with more than a single column or row header and those with complex row or column spans) use headers and id attributes to associate data cells with header cells

i. Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.

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Required: Frames and iframes have title attributes identifying their purpose and/or briefly describing their content.

Recommended: Use of hidden frames or iframes is avoided.

Recommended: iframes or CSS alternatives are used in preference to frames.

j. Pages and elements shall be designed so that screen flicker does not occur between frequencies 2Hz and 55 Hz.

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Required: No page content or graphic flashes faster than three times per second.

k. A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a Web site comply with the provisions of these standards when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes. The non- accessible version must be as accessible as possible.

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l. When pages utilize scripting or other programmatic elements to display content, the information provided by the script shall also be provided in an equivalent text format that can be processed and interpreted by assistive technology. When pages utilize scripting or other programmatic elements to create user interfaces, user interaction shall be input device independent.

Reference Standards


Required: Scripted elements and/or “widgets” are accessible to the keyboard, with all focusable elements being able to be activated/utilized solely via the keyboard.

Required: Scripted elements and/or “widgets” are coded so that they work effectively with screen readers.

Strongly Recommended: W3C WAI ARIA Authoring Practices are followed for scripted elements and widgets.

m. When a Web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, the page must provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with Oklahoma Software Applications and Operating Systems standards (a) through (l).

Reference Standards


Required: Plug-in based widgets (Flash, Silverlight, Java, etc.), menus, or other controls embedded in the web site have functionality that complies with standards a through l of NSU Standards or a functionally equivalent form of access is provided (e.g., Widgets provide HTML-based, keyboard accessible primary or alternative controls).

Required: Plug-in based widgets do not “trap” the keyboard/prevent keyboard navigation from moving out of or away from the widget.

Strongly Recommended: PDF, PowerPoint, and other document types linked to within the hosted web site meet appropriate accessibility standards (e.g., PDF is “tagged,” PowerPoint is mostly text-based with graphics adequately described, etc.).

Recommended: Plug-ins required for display or functionality of content are readily available (via link on page or (verified) automatic functionality of web browser).

n. When electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.

Reference Standards


Required: All form elements are able to be utilized fully via keyboard.

Required: Input fields are associated with labels via “for-id” syntax (title attribute used alternatively, when necessary/by visual requirement) and buttons or button inputs are properly labeled (via encapsulated text or value attribute, respectively).

Required: If a traditional visual challenge CAPTCHA is used (not advised), an audio challenge alternative is provided and/or a method requiring only text-to-speech output is provided.

Strongly Recommended: Fieldsets with short descriptive legends group associated radio buttons or check boxes.

Strongly Recommended: Order of form elements flows logically and associated elements are proximate and in a logical order.

Strongly Recommended: Form errors are indicated by focusing the errors list on page submit or by focusing first error field and ensuring error message is accessible to a screen reader user by using aria-labelledby or other associative labeling method

Strongly Recommended: Form required fields are identified textually (via alt on an image of an asterisk, for example) and/or through both aria-required and required attributes.

Strongly Recommended: Help prompts in forms are accessible to a screen reader and properly associated with the relevant field, using aria-labelledby or other associative labeling method.

Strongly Recommended: Dynamic, scripted elements within a form (contextual reveals, etc.) do not disrupt form fill out and are tested to be screen reader accessible.

Recommended: Users are able to confirm and edit long/multi-page form changes before submitting.

Recommended: Form submission errors are indicated with text proximate to the field and associated with aria-labelledby or other associative labeling method

Recommended: Forms do not use links for buttons.

o. A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links.

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Required: A method to skip long lists of links, such as navigation, is provided (e.g., “skip to main content” link is first focusable page element)

p. When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required.

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Required: The user is given an accessible method to extend time when a timed response is required.

Strongly Recommended: The user is given an accessible method to extend the browser “session.”

Strongly Recommended: The user is given an accessible means to pause automatically moving, rotating, updating, or scrolling content.

Strongly Recommended: Do not automatically refresh the page.

q. Use valid, industry recognized web programming standards including a document type definition or the equivalent.

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Required: Set DOCTYPE

r. Identify the primary natural language of the document.

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Required: Set document's language type.

HTML example: <html lang="en">

PDF setting: File > Properties > Advanced > Reading Options > Language: set to English

s. A link to the agency's Web site accessibility policy (if existing) and contact information for compliance issues related to the accessibility of electronic and information technology shall be included on home pages and other key pages.

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