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Emory's LibGuide on LibGuides: Best Practices & Guidelines for Creating and Maintaining LibGuides

An internal guide for Emory Libraries.

Accessibility Basics

Your LibGuides are most effective when students, faculty, staff, and visitors can read and understand them. As you're putting your guides together, try to make them as easy to read -- both physically and intellectually -- as you can to instruct your audience.

The A11Y Project website is a great resource for you to learn more about accessibility issues. A11Y (a numeronym for accessibility as there are 11 letters between A and Y in the word) is an open-source movement intended to create accessible websites and promote inclusivity. 

Although there's a lot to learn from the A11Y movement, you don't have to achieve 100% accessibility (especially because you can't, there is no such thing). There are some simple things you can do to make your LibGuides more accessbie that don't require a lot of work. In fact, Springshare has enabled some of them in the code generated by the LibGuides platform.

Some simple things you can do include:

  • Use plain language as much as possible
  • Create descriptive alt tags for your images -- people with visual impairments who use screen readers need them to describe what images you've added to your page
  • Employ HTML lists (like this one!) to organize your information
  • Provide controls for embedded media, and turn auto-play off
  • Include transcripts for videos

Accessibility Resources

Keep accessibility in mind when selecting colors. Contrast is extremely important for users with color blindness or visual impairments, so make it a priority to select font and background color combinations that pass accessibility tests.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview

The guidelines and Success Criteria are organized around the following four principles, which lay the foundation necessary for anyone to access and use Web content. Anyone who wants to use the Web must have content that is:

  1. Perceivable - Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.  This means that users must be able to perceive the information being presented (it can't be invisible to all of their senses).

    • This is the visual component of the guidelines and covers Text Alternatives, Captioning of Audio/Video Media, Adaptability of the Content and Presentation of Color & Contrast.

  2. Operable - User interface components and navigation must be operable.  This means that users must be able to operate the interface (the interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform)

    • This section involves Keyboard Accessibility, Timing of Presentations, Animation Requirements, Navigation Structure, and InPut Modalities (pointers, gestures, etc.)

  3. Understandable - Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable. This means that users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface (the content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding).

    • Information must be Readable, follow a Predictable & Consistent Navigation, and offer Input Assistance. 

  4. Robust - Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.  This means that users must be able to access the content as technologies advance (as technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible).

    • This involves website Compatibility with readers by accurate web programming.

If any of these are not true, users with disabilities will not be able to use the Web.