How to make your website or email accessible


Making websites and emails accessible for all is an important part of communicating. 

This article contains an overview of:

  • Using title page and hyperlinks
  • Using alternative text for photos/images
  • Choosing colours
  • Structuring content
  • Vital information in text
  • Supporting files
  • Additional resources

Title pages and hyperlinks appropriately

Titles appear in the top of the browser window/tab. Help your readers differentiate between pages by offering clear, descriptive titles under 60 characters in length.

When placing links in text, avoid the use of “click here” or “more info”. Instead of “Click here to register for the internship”, choose a phrase like “Register for the internship online”. Instead of “You can learn more about residence accommodations through this page”, choose a phrase like “Learn more about residence accommodation options”.

Provide text for photos and images

Images should have short, readable filenames. For example, ideally “PeterRicketts.jpg” rather than “ricketts_news_201701pic.jpg” or “IMG_03235”, etc.

All images should have an alt-text that describes what the image is (ex. “Acadia Axewomen Basketball player Paloma Anderson”). These alt-text descriptions should incorporate keywords as appropriate. If this image is a navigation element, ex. the Acadia logo in the top left that directs users back to the Acadia homepage, it should be labeled based on what it does, ex. “Acadia University homepage”.

Choose colours carefully

Choose contrasting colours and ensure text is always clearly legible. Colourblindness affects up to 5% of the population. Colour should never be the primary means of choosing between two different options: ensure buttons or icons are also shaped differently for easy reference.

Structure content clearly

One of the most important means of improving accessibility, and your website in general, is to both write and structure your content clearly. Use headings and paragraphs, and—generally speaking—write at a level appropriate for the average layperson.

If your content is well-structured and written, it will be easier for both people and software to understand. This is helpful for users who rely on screen readers and other assistive technologies.

Keep vital information in text

Ensure the most important information is in text, rather than in images or scripts, which may not be accessible or enabled for users relying on assistive technologies. “Hover” actions work poorly for both mobile devices and users who do not have a mouse. Avoid using Flash entirely.

Consider supporting files

There are ways to make even PDF, Word, and Excel files more accessible. Consider evaluating important supporting documentation or files for accessibility.

Additional Resources

For more information and to see your website accessibility compliance score:

Communications Nova Scotia Accessibility Guide:

Accessibility at Penn State:

Other links:

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Article ID: 685
Thu 11/1/18 2:31 PM
Mon 3/21/22 3:15 PM