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Cambridge LibGuides

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Accessibility and inclusivity: Cambridge libraries toolkit

Accessible web design

Designing for Diverse Learners

The poster below represents key aspects to consider when creating accessible and inclusive content. The poster focuses on the design of digital teaching and learning materials, but many of the principles could also apply to other physical and digital content, for example, printed posters and signage, library websites, blogs and social media.

The poster was designed by Lee Fallin and Sue Watling at the University of Hull, based on posters developed by the UK Home Office.

Click here to find out more about the Designing for Diverse Learners project at the University of Hull.

View the UK Home Office set of posters by clicking here.

Poster from University of Hull advising on aspects of inclusive design. Link below to version with alternate text

Birkbeck for All provides more useful information related to designing and creating accessible content, media, on the web, as well as through products such as Microsoft Office. Click here to access the Birkbeck for All pages.

Checking the accessibility of your web content

Guidance from Cambridge University libraries

As Cambridge libraries we have a responsibility to make sure that web content we publish fully meets accessibility standards. Anyone who contributes content to a website is responsible for the accessibility of that content. 

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) can be a useful starting point when thinking about the accessibility of the content you are producing or editing.  

WCAG is organised around four principles, using the POUR acronym:

  • Perceivable: Can users perceive the content? This helps us keep in mind that just because something is perceivable with one sense, such as sight, that doesn't mean that all users can perceive it. 
  • Operable: Can users use UI components and navigate the content? For example, something that requires a hover interaction cannot be operated by someone who can't use a mouse or touch screen. 
  • Understandable: Can users understand the content? Can users understand the interface and is it consistent enough to avoid confusion? 
  • Robust: Can the content be consumed by a wide variety of user agents (browsers)? Does it work with assistive technology? 

While WCAG provides a comprehensive overview of what it means for content to be accessible, it can also be a bit overwhelming. To help mitigate this, the WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) group has distilled the WCAG guidelines into an easy-to-follow checklist, targeted specifically for web content. 

These include 

  • making sure PDFs or other documents they create are accessible 
  • Header sequences to provide structure 
  • Label text for form elements 
  • explain all abbreviations and acronyms, unless they are well known and in common use - for example UK, EU, VAT 
  • Don’t Use Tables for Anything Except Tabular Data 
  • Any frames or iframes on a page should be labeled with a title attribute so that when a screen reader gets to the frame/iframe, it announces what is contained within.  

The WebAIM checklist also includes other aspects of design covered elsewhere in the information contained within this page.


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