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Are you doing everything you can to make your site accessible and easy to use?

Use this guide to learn practical accessibility techniques to ensure your web site can be viewed and used by everyone.

Accessibility is a Shared Responsibility

Accessibility is a shared concern for everyone at the School of Medicine who has a hand in creating, sharing, and publishing digital resources.

The School of Medicine Information Technology (IT) maintains the default White Coat theme that is used in the School of Medicine web system. This theme was designed with accessibility in mind and continues to be updated to address emerging requirements and best practices.

Content editors, which is anyone who creates and publishes text, images, video, and audio, must adhere to accessibility requirements when creating and publishing digital content. As an editor, you’re responsible for ensuring your site’s content meets these objectives. By creating accessible text, images, and multimedia, you help make the School of Medicine web system more inclusive and improve the site experience of all users.


A web site is only useful if it’s accessible to the user.

Any user.


Accessibility Compliance Is No Longer an Option

Accessibility is a major issue that looms larger as more of everyday life happens online and as the world’s population grows and ages. By 2050, the aging world population is expected to double (source: UN’s 2017 World Population Ageing Highlights). That shift in demographics means that more of the population will experience age-related impairments.

With internet technology becoming the primary source of communication, making your website fully accessible is more important than ever. Adhering to the web accessibility standards is a legal requirement but it is also more than that. As a School of Medicine and health care provider, we should consider it a social responsibility. We know that a significant portion of our target audience will have disabilities and/or limitations. We should addresses this by making it easy for users to access health care information and services.

Creating an accessible website ensures that people, regardless of their physical or mental limitations, can obtain the information they need and communicate with your organization.

Web Accessibility Guidelines: Just The Starting Point

Don’t let compliance or some arbitrary score from an automated checker be your actual goal when it come to accessibility. Compliance isn’t just about assessing your site against standards. Accessibility is about the people visiting your site now and in the future. Your goal should always be to provide the best possible site experience for all users. So as you work to improve your site’s accessibility, always keep the user in mind.

We often mistake the concept of accessibility as involving only people with permanent disabilities. In reality, it extends to anyone who is experiencing any permanent, temporary or situational disability. For example, having only one arm is a permanent disability, having a broken arm is a temporary disability, and holding a baby in one arm is a situational disability. Accessibility, in a nutshell, is usability for all. It ensures that everyone has equal and convenient access to your website, no matter what abilities they have.

Here are some other examples of how accessibility requirements improve the user experience for everyone:

  • Proper use of contrasting colors or easy-to-ready fonts benefits people accessing a website from a small screen (such as a mobile phone) or in a dark room.
  • Alternative text benefits users with limited bandwidth.
  • Audio transcription benefit users who are unable to use earphones to access audio content.

Designing with user accessibility in mind means envisioning all users as having needs that require attention.

Following the recommendations provided in this user guide, and relevant policies on accessibility, will make your website usable and accessible for all.


Instead of asking, “How do I make my site compliant?” the better question is “How can I make my website accessible to people with disabilities?”