How to Make Content Accessible

The Web is an increasingly important resource in many aspects of life: education, employment, government, commerce, health care, recreation, and more. It is essential that the Web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to everyone.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) summarizes web accessibility in their Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

The CUIMC Distribution is built to meet WCAG AA standards. In order to keep accessibility to this standard, there are several areas website editors need to be aware of:


When writing your content there are several areas you'll need to consider in regards to accessibility:

  • Language
  • Structure 
  • Links


When writing your content to be accessible, it's important to make your content clear, easy to read and avoid any language that would require the reader to see the visual elements on the page.


When writing content, make sure to use headings to create a clear and intuitive hierarchy that can be navigated without input from imagery.


Avoid using terms like "Click here ", "Learn more", "Read more", etc... An accessible link should include a description or context associated with where the link is going to.


Alternative (ALT) Text

When adding images to your site, it’s important to enter descriptive text as an ALT tag.  Screen readers read ALT tags to let visually impaired users know what information the images convey. Enter text in the ALT tag field to describe the contents of the image in detail, rather than simply using a generic “image of” description. The more information the ALT text provides, the better.

  • Example: A good ALT text for the below image would be: "George Washington Bridge with Columbia University Irving Medical Center in the distance. "
George Washington Bridge with Columbia University Medical Center in the distance.


Embedded Text or Infographics 

Images that contain text are inherently inaccessible and should be avoided. Including images or graphics that have words in them can't be extracted by screenreaders and may be too low contrast for people with visual impairment. Avoid these types of images or include this information in the body content rather than only in the image so screenreaders can extract this content for users.


For the same reason, Videos embedded on a page must include captions. For instructions visit the Youtube help page for adding your own subtitles and closed captions.

Captioning YouTube Videos


Documents must conform to the same accessibility standards as web content. Use well-structured headings, lists, and ALT text for images within all documents.

Avoid using tables if possible, as they are difficult for users with screen readers to negotiate.

Learn more about creating accessible PDFs.