Print: Section 3.11

Display Content Clearly on the Page

3.11 Make your site accessible to people with disabilities.

All Federal Government websites must be accessible to people with disabilities. This is often called Section 508 compliance (referring to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act).73 The guidance in Section 508 helps us design websites that work for everyone.

Here are a few of the important considerations addressed under Section 508:

  • Make sure screen readers and other assistive technologies can read your site. That way, users with physical impairments will still be able to access your content. Usually, this involves confirming a logical reading order of your page, making sure important content is near the top of what the screen reader will “see” first, and making sure that images have appropriate alt text. You can find other criteria in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
  • Mark up page titles and section headings consistently. This will ensure that users with and without a screen reader can easily identify the major content sections on the page.
  • Check that users can navigate your site using only a keyboard. That way, your site will still be accessible for users who have mobility or vision impairments and aren’t comfortable using a mouse or touch screen.
  • Choose strong color contrast, especially for buttons. Many users with vision impairments are not actually blind, but rather have low vision or color blindness. For these users, it’s very difficult to tell the difference between similar colors—low-contrast text may disappear.
  • Test content that requires the use of plug-ins or dedicated software for accessibility.30 There are additional accessibility requirements for other plug-ins that take a user out of a web browser. It’s important to test non-HTML elements in their application to make sure they are still accessible to all users.

Get more information about web accessibility from the Web Accessibility Initiative.