Recent Accessibility Improvements Web services blog | firez
Web Services

Recent Accessibility Improvements | Web services blog

We are working to ensure that the University’s websites are fully accessible to all – and legally compliant – by September 2020.

We aim to make our websites accessible to everyone in the following ways:

  • Perceptible: Making text and media perceivable for everyone
  • Operable: Helps users navigate content
  • Understandable: Make multimedia texts understandable
  • Robust: Maximize compatibility

We recently performed an accessibility audit. Carrying out an accessibility audit is part of the evaluation process where we are not meeting the above objectives.

The audit helped us identify improvements we could make to both our new designs and older models. We have prioritized the problems and have already started fixing them, solving the urgent problems first.

In the interest of full transparency, we post issues and provide updates as part of our accessibility statement.

What we fixed recently

You may notice some of these improvements:

  • the contrast of borders on form fields (such as input on the search page) has been increased from light gray to dark gray to make them more visible
  • links surrounded by text (such as within the body of an article) have been underlined: they are now more noticeable and do not rely on color to be visible and distinctive
  • Font sizes for some components have been increased to make our content more comfortable to read
  • links and icons that appear on light gray backgrounds (e.g. in the footer) have been darkened to ensure an adequate level of contrast
  • text that appears over background images is now more comfortable to read thanks to increased contrast

Screenshot showing a news story with underlined blue links
Above: Links now stand out from surrounding body text

Screenshot of a web page showing a search input and results

Above: Text inputs now have improved contrast

If you use a device or tool to make the website more accessible (like a screen reader), you may also notice these improvements:

  • We’ve added a « skip to navigation » link to make accessing the main navigation menus quicker and easier
  • We’ve updated the main navigation to make it easier to use for people who have large font size and zoom settings in their browser
  • fixed incorrect header structures on some pages and components (headers are now properly nested, improving readability and « parsability » by screen readers and similar tools)
  • We have updated the way media elements are created in our content management system so that alt text is required for images used within our content to convey meaning

Screenshot of a web page showing

Above: It’s now easier to jump straight to our main navigation using a screen reader

Templates make it easier

As mentioned in previous blog posts, we have created our own design system. This includes a « template library » full of page components and templates that we can reuse. And once a component or page template is fixed, this change automatically extends to all places where it is used.

Next steps

While the above improvements will make a big difference, we still have a lot of work to do to fix each issue. We are determined to fix all these problems and ensure that our website is fully accessible.

Please feel free to contact us by emailing to let us know about any accessibility issues.