Accessible websites

As an editor on umu.se, the staff web or other websites, you must design your websites to be accessible. If you own a website outside of umu.se, you must also ensure that the entire website is accessible, not just the content.

This page presents more information about designing accessible web pages and websites. Images, audio, video and documents that you upload must also be accessible, and texts on the web must be adapted to fulfil the legal requirements and the university's language policy.

How to make a website more accessible

Avoid instructions that are dependent on sensory characteristics

Sensory characteristics are, for instance, to write that something is "to the right" of the page or refer to "a blue button". Instead, write that something is found in the menu or that there is a button with a particular text that the visitor can click on. The website can be shown differently depending on if the visitor uses a computer, a smartphone or a tablet which means references to directions can be invalid when content moves place. And for some visitors, colours can be difficult.

Use the right styling

In order for aids such as screen readers to understand what is a headline on a web page, the headlines need to be marked with particular tags in the website coding. For this reason, refrain from simply making the text bold when marking a headline. Using the correct styling also means that the content is more easily found by search engines, as search engines sometimes use page headlines to assess if content is relevant. On umu.se and the staff web, there are pre-set formats for headlines, preambles and body text.

Write clear link texts

Using clear link texts, the user understands what will happen if the user clicks on the link. Make sure that all relevant words are included in the link and consider if it is understandable where the link leads without having read the surrounding text.

  • Instead of only writing "More information" or "Read more", you can use the title of the page you are linking to.
  • If the link refers to an email address, you can either type out the entire address as the link text, or write "Send an email to XX", or equivalent.
  • If, for instance, you choose to write "Read more about web accessibility here", you must link the entire sentence, not just the word "here".
  • Avoid using the same link text to refer to different pages. For instance, avoid writing "Read more" several times when each link leads to a different page.

Avoid mixing languages

Screen-reading software use a mark-up in the website code to decipher which language a text is written in and how it should be read. This means that if you, for instance, publish an English text on a Swedish website, you need to indicate in the code that the text is written in a different language. Otherwise, the consequence is that the text will not be read correctly for a person using a screen reader.

Web editors on umu.se or the staff web must use the page translation functionality to switch between Swedish and English. This makes sure each page is automatically marked with the correct language.

Websites outside of umu.se

If you are responsible for a website outside of umu.se, you are also responsible for making sure that it fulfils the requirements of the Law on Accessibility to Digital Public Service. This covers both the contents of the website and the technical functionality of the website.

Some of the requirements you can check and fix yourself, but it is recommended that you ask an accessibility consultant for help in analysing your website based on the existing legal requirements. After that, you can use a web developer to fix any potential problems.

Guidelines and guidance

Webbriktlinjer.se is a useful guide from DIGG, the Agency for Digital Government, which provides the official guidelines for web development in the public sector in Sweden. Presently, however, the material is only available in Swedish, but the website provides a summary in English. DIGG also provides tips on tools that can test your website as well as checklists and explanations on legal requirements. Using those, you can also keep check on what parts you can check and fix yourself.

Webbriktlinjer.se/en

Accessibility statement

Your website must have an accessibility statement describing what parts of the website do not fulfil the legal requirements. In Swedish, this is called a "tillgänglighetsredogörelse". The accessibility statement must be updated regularly and contain a link to inform the user of what accessibility targets have not been met.

The Agency for Digital Government provides templates for accessibility statements in Swedish

Jonas Mattebo
8/10/2021