Basic Web Accessibility Cheat Sheet

3/23/2017 | University of Nevada, Reno

Video Content

  • All video content that is either for instructional purposes, internally shared or publically available on the web needs to be captioned.
  • Captions need to be 95% accurate or better; auto-generated captions are not sufficient (i.e. those generated by YouTube).
  • Video content that has no spoken audio (i.e. only background music) is an exception and does not need to be captioned.
  • Transcripts are not sufficient in most cases. Transcripts with timestamps are a step in the right direction but not a substitute for captions. Transcripts without timestamps are insufficient.

Audio Content

  • Audio files (i.e. podcasts) need to have a transcript, ideally with timestamps.


  • All PDFs that are for instructional purposes, internally shared or publically available on the web need to be accessible.
  • For scanned documents, all text should be OCR’ed so that it can be read by a screen reader;
  • Scanned documents or book pages that are not OCR’ed are not accessible andshould not be used.
  • All images need to have ALT text.
  • The document reading order needs to be set –this ensures that a screen reader reads the page in the order it was intended.


  • Follow the guidelines below when creating content for the web. This includes anyweb content that is publically accessible, used for internal purposes and content that is directed toward students.

Alt Text

  • All images must have ALT text (i.e. the alt attribute of the <img> tag)
    • Alt text should
      • Be accurate and equivalent
      • Be succinct; although some more detailed graphics or diagrams may require it to be longer
      • Not be redundant
      • Not use the phrases “image of” or “picture of,” etc.


  • Links should be descriptive
    • Do not use “Click Here” –this has nomeaning out of context.
    • Do not use long URLs as link text (i.e.
    • Instead, use a descriptive link in context (i.e. EDUCAUSE review article, ADA Compliance for Online Course Design, by Sheryl Burgstahler)

Data Tables

  • Datatables need to have captions. (This is different than captions related to videos; it refers to the small text under or above a table that describes the data presented.)
  • Tables must have headers.
  • Avoid spanned cells.
  • Use proportional sizing rather than absolute (% rather than a pixel dimension).


  • Do not use text formatting to achieve the appearance of headings; heading tags (<H1>-<H6>) should be used for all headings –these may be set to specific styles in the content management system you use (i.e. LibGuides)
  • Conversely, do not use heading tags (<H1>-<H6>) to achieve visual results only as they convey a hierarchy


  • Do not use color to convey meaning or information (for users who cannot distinguish color differences); alternatively colored text should be otherwise differentiated
  • Make sure that the colors you choose have sufficient contrast


  • Below are some accessibility resources that are available on the web and campus resources if you need assistance or have questions.

Tools to Check Your Content:

Resources for Assistance at the University