Web Accessibility

ATI (Accessible Technology Initiative)

The Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) reflects the California State University's (CSU) ongoing commitment to provide access to information resources and technologies to individuals with disabilities. This commitment is articulated in Executive Order 1111 (EO 1111), the CSU Board of Trustees Policy on Disability Support and Accommodations.

Learn more about ATI

The Web Accessibility component of ATI requires that all campus administrative web sites conform to Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Administrative web sites include administrative units such as Business & Finance, as well as colleges, departments, and programs.

Statement of Web Accessibility

Read the Statement of Web Accessibility

Resources to Create Accessible Websites & Digital Content

The Chancellor's Office provides many How-To Guides and Resources for creating accessible web content.

PennState has a great resource on Website Accessibility techniques.

When editing the content on your pages...

  1. Schedule a periodic review of your site, click through every page and see if anything is out of date (i.e. changes in personal, phone or office, dates and any curriculum information posted on an academic department). Check for broken links* on your pages.
    Delete old document files on the web server – let us know if you would like to do that and we can guide you through that process.
  2. Add alternative text to all the images. It's required so a visitor with visual disabilities is able to get the same information when visiting our website with a screen reader. If the image or graphic has text, that text needs to be available in the "alternative text" field in its entirety. Meaning, all of the text on that graphic needs to be entered into the "alternative text" field when you add the image. This applies to jpg of a flyer as well, you can have the text available on the page, but you would still need to enter it into the alternative text field of the image. Read more on alt text
  3. Color; any information conveyed with color, also needs to be available without color. This indicates that you shouldn't try to "color code" your webpage or any content on that webpage. Color is a great indicator for those who can see it, but for others it will make things more confusing.
  4. Tables; row and column headers should be identified for data tables. Under table properties, set "headers" dropdown to "first row" or "first column" as applicable. If you have a complex data table, redefine the layout so your tabular data so that it's compliant. Easiest way to test if your table will make sense on a screen reader, is to open your page with the table on a mobile device, when it reformats for the mobile device, does the table content still make sense? Do not use tables for layout.
  5. Avoid "click here" links; instead use text that will tell the reader at a quick glance what they will get once they click. If it's action-oriented, use the action word in the hyperlink. Do not use the URL as the text either. Learn more about accessible text links
    Here is a quick example:
    Inaccessible link text: Click here to visit the Freshman Admissions website to learn more.
    Inaccessible link text: Visit the link to learn more: https://www.csustan.edu/undergrad/freshman/
    Accessible link text: Learn more about the application process, visit Freshman Admissions website.
  6. Heading tags were developed not to assist formatting, but to provide information on structural hierarchy of a document/webpage. It's best to use the tags for the intended purpose in the information hierarchy rather than for pure formatting purposes. Screen readers in particular may just scan a page for appropriate H1, H2 and H3 elements.
  7. Digital content must conform to accessibility guidelines. Digital content is any document, presentation, video, or other multimedia posted on a website.
    OIT offers ongoing workshops in accessibility for Word, PowerPoint and PDF. Learn more & schedule a group or individual session.
    Here are a few online resources:

Posting Flyers

Before & After Examples of Posting Document Content as an HTML Page

The before example shows that the only way a visitor could get to this content was through the PDF, which was not accessible.


bad use of images; example of before

With the after version, an image was pulled from the flyer and used it as a visual to go along with the brief introduction copy. The PDF link was replaced with a link to a new html page that now houses the content of the flyer as live text. The PDF flyer, however, is still available as a link at the bottom of the new page and titled appropriately. The “Read more about and a message from Dr. Banks” is the new link to the new page.

Visit the page to see the working example of how it looks now.


Good use of images; after example

Broken Links & Digital Content

Website contributors should schedule periodic reviews of the department’s website content. Doing so not only improves the student/user experience on our website, but also preps us for WASC and helps us meet ATI (Accessible Technology Initiative) goals. As part of this effort, we should check for the following items as a starting point:

Broken Links

When a page is first opened in edit mode, an orange alert may pop up at the top of the page (see screenshot for visual example). The website has a built-in system to check for broken links. This alert tells you that one or more of the links failed on this page. Some of the errors in this report could be “false positives” which means the link is actually fine, but the system isn’t able to complete its check. Likely because there’s either a login window on the other end or an alert that stops the page from loading straight away. The failed links in this alert would need manual checking to see if it is in fact broken or a “false positive” alert. If you host a page with several links to external sites, it’s a good idea to periodically go through that list even if you don’t see an error when you open the page in edit mode.

Digital File Clean Up

This topic is a key component of ATI. The digital files uploaded and hyperlinked on the University website need to be accessible by law. Majority of the files on our website currently are not accessible; they have issues like: there’s no tab order, no primary language is set, the images don’t have alt text, or the entire document is an image (likely scanned) and does not have “live text” so a screen reader can’t read it.

New File Uploads:

First of all, moving forward with new files that are being uploaded, I recommend the following two paths:

1) If you can, avoid using PDF (word/ppt, etc) files as a sole source of online information. If the content can be displayed on the HTML page, please do so. Use the visual elements from your document if you want as images on this page, but place the content within the page itself and not as a link to a document. See the section on Posting Flyers for a before and after example.

2) If you must upload this information as a document, please make sure it’s accessible from this point forward. Listed below are a few resources. I’m learning this component myself, but if you have questions I will help get answers. OIT Learning Services is a great resource as well.
Creating Accessible Materials
Lynda.com (search Creating Accessible PDFs or Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft Office)

Files Already on the Server:

One day, all the files on the web server will need to be updated and all accessible. In the meantime, we need to show we are making efforts to remediate these files and have goals in place.

The quickest and biggest stride we can make right away is to remove outdated files from the web server. Please reach out to webupdate@csustan.edu and we will show you a quick way to identify the files you want removed and send to us for deletion.