Introduction to Accessibility

The Benefits to Accessibility

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
    • search engines read alt tags
    • well constructed pages rank higher
  • Social Responsibility – as a public entity, UC is held to the highest standards of access
  • Cleaner Navigation - works without a mouse
  • Ease of use for all users - expanded user control
  • Device independence - desktop, laptop, mobile, ect.
  • More inclusive work place – people with disabilities constitute 5-10% of our workforce
  • Bimodal presentation - can improve speech perceptibility
  • Allows for more cost effective online interaction - reduces calls and visits

Enhancing UCSF’s Competitive Advantage

At the heart of the UCSF accessibility policy is the concept that accessible websites benefit every site visitor with well-designed, easy-to-navigate sites

As an educational institution, health care provider and employer, we operate in competition for the attention of professors, potential students, patients, new hires, and others. If one of them (for example, a talented School of Medicine master’s program applicant or their parent) cannot read our application page, we run the risk of losing that applicant to a university that delivers fully accessible content.

Understanding WCAG 2.0 and P.O.U.R. Principles

WCAG 2.0 is a stable, referenceable technical standard. It has 12 guidelines that are organized under 4 principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. For each guideline, there are testable success criteria, which are at three levels: A, AA, and AAA.

Meeting WCAG 2.0 also fulfills the web requirements for section 508, so generally web developers use WCAG 2.0 as the standard.

P.O.U.R. Principles

Perceivable: The three main senses of perception are sight, sound and touch. Some of your users may have difficulties with one or more of their senses, making them reliant on assistive technology to browse your website.

Operable: The main issues for making your website operable are, ensuring good keyboard-only navigation, avoiding setting time limits for your users and helping them out if they make errors on forms.

Understandable: Your website must use clear terms, have simple instructions and explain complex issues. Be clear and consistent.

Robust: Make content fully accessible by third-party technology (like web browsers and screen readers) by adhere to recognized standards.

The 12 guidelines of WCAG 2.0 Level A



1.1.1 – Non-text Content

Provide text alternatives for non-text content

1.2.1 – Audio-only and Video-only (Pre-recorded)

Provide an alternative to video-only and audio-only content

1.2.2 – Captions (Pre-recorded)

Provide captions for videos with audio

1.2.3 – Audio Description or Media Alternative (Pre-recorded)

Video with audio has a second alternative

1.3.1 – Info and Relationships

Logical structure

1.3.2 – Meaningful Sequence

Present content in a meaningful order

1.3.3 – Sensory Characteristics

Use more than one sense for instructions

1.4.1 – Use of Color

Don’t use presentation that relies solely on color

1.4.2 – Audio Control

Don’t play audio automatically



2.1.1 – Keyboard

Accessible by keyboard only

2.1.2 – No Keyboard Trap

Don’t trap keyboard users

2.2.1 – Timing Adjustable

Time limits have user controls

2.2.2 – Pause, Stop, Hide

Provide user controls for moving content

2.3.1 – Three Flashes or Below

No content flashes more than three times per second

2.4.1 – Bypass Blocks

Provide a ‘Skip to Content’ link

2.4.2 – Page Titled

Use helpful and clear page titles

2.4.3 – Focus Order

Logical order

2.4.4 – Link Purpose (In Context)

Every link’s purpose is clear from its context



3.1.1 – Language of Page

Page has a language assigned

3.2.1 – On Focus

Elements do not change when they receive focus

3.2.2 – On Input

Elements do not change when they receive input

3.3.1 – Error Identification

Clearly identify input errors

3.3.2 – Labels or Instructions

Label elements and give instructions

4.1.1 – Parsing

No major code errors

4.1.2 – Name, Role, Value

Elements as needed should include Name, Role and/or Value


see above

WCAG 2.0 Level AA a Few More Guidelines



1.2.4 – Captions (Live)

Live videos have captions

1.2.5 – Audio Description (Pre-recorded)

Users have access to audio description for video content

1.4.3 – Contrast (Minimum)

Contrast ratio between text and background is at least 4.5:1

1.4.4 – Resize Text

Text can be resized to 200% without loss of content or function

1.4.5 – Images of Text

Don’t use images of text



2.4.5 – Multiple Ways

Offer several ways to find pages

2.4.6 – Headings and Labels

Use clear headings and labels

2.4.7 – Focus Visible

Ensure keyboard focus is visible and clear



3.1.2 – Language of Parts

Tell users when the language on a page changes

3.2.3 – Consistent Navigation

Use menus consistently

3.2.4 – Consistent Identification

Use icons and buttons consistently

3.3.3 – Error Suggestion

Suggest fixes when users make errors

3.3.4- Error Prevention (Legal, Financial, Data)

Reduce the risk of input errors for sensitive data


see above

Accessibility is Part of UCSF’s Mission

As the leading institution dedicated exclusively to the health sciences, we are committed to building a broadly diverse faculty, student, trainee and staff community, to nurture a culture that is welcoming and supportive, and to engage diverse ideas for the provision of culturally competent education, discovery and patient care. By providing web content in accessible formats, we ensure that online information and tools are accessible to everyone.

It is the Law

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require that public universities provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, and activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter them or impose an undue burden. In addition, Section 508 of the same act requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Thus, public universities must provide equally effective access to information to people with disabilities, independent of the format.