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Encouraged Fixes for HTML Files

ASPA-DCD classifies accessibility errors into two categories as shown below:

  • Required Fixes (RFs): violations that must be corrected and have direct mappings to either Section 508 or HHS accessibility guidelines.
  • Encouraged Fixes (EFs): issues that should be corrected in order to meet best-practice accessibility standards but are not required for conformance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act or HHS accessibility guidelines.

Should you have questions or recommendations for revisions to the below list, please contact ASPA-DCD at http://wcdapps.hhs.gov/AccessibilityAssistance/. We welcome any and all feedback about these common-issues lists.

Back to Making Files Accessible

General Checks

Issue Title Issue Description Remediation Suggestion
Abbreviations are Undefined An abbreviation was used in the document, however it was either never defined, or it has multiple meanings within the document. On first use, completely spell out the content followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. Alternatively, put each instance of the abbreviation in a span tag and set the ‘Actual Text’ to the full meaning. For further assistance see: WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 3.1.4
Page Contains an Accessible Alternative for Inaccessible Content The site contains an alternate version for a piece of content that can be made accessible on its own. When implementing a separate but equal version, the disabled are treated as if they’re not as important as abled individuals. Make original content fully accessible and remove alternate version. For further assistance see: Webaim Text Only Versions
Navigational Direction is Device Dependent For instructional commands, only mouse device instructions such as click or hover are given. Use device independent navigation such as select, navigate, and activate.
Non-hyperlinked text is underlined Underlines typically indicate that text is hyperlinked. Underlining text that is not linked can cause confusion for users. Remove underlines from all text that is not linked.
Issue Title Issue Description Remediation Suggestion
Links are not Distinguishable out of Context Generic link text was used and is only understandable when in context with the surrounding content. Assistive Technology users also navigate pages by bringing up a list of all the links on the page. Having link text that is understandable out of context helps users navigate by this method. Modify the link text so that the purpose of the link is understandable when read on its own. For further assistance see: WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.9
Link Opens In a New Window, but There is No notification Provided to Assistive Technology A link in this site open in new windows or tabs and there is no notification provided to users of assistive technology. Not having a notification can foster navigational challenges---especially when a user attempts to backspace to the previous page and fails. Add a method to inform users that links will be opening in new windows or tabs. For further assistance see: Webaim New Window
W3 General Technique #201

Images

Issue Title Issue Description Remediation Suggestion
Verbose or Redundant Alternative Text is Present Alternative text repeats adjacent text or contains extraneous wording such as “image of...”, “this image shows...”, etc. Revise alternative text to eliminate repetitive or extraneous wording. For further assistance see:

Webaim Alt text
W3 Image Tutorial

Audio/Video

Issue Title Issue Description Remediation Suggestion
Audio Contrast is Insufficient The contrast between foreground and background sounds in the audio is low and makes it difficult to understand for individuals with hearing disabilities. Increase the audio contrast between foreground and background sounds to at least 20db. For further assistance see: W3 General Technique #56

Keyboard

Issue Title Issue Description Remediation Suggestion
Non-actionable Items Have Tab Stops When users tab through a page, some tab stops are not actionable. This can cause confusion to Assistive Technology and keyboard users. Remove tab stops from elements of the page that are not actionable.

Tables

Issue Title Issue Description Remediation Suggestion
Layout Tables are Used Tables are used to layout content instead of CSS. Recode layout tables using CSS on div and span tags to separate content from presentation.
A Complex Table can be reformatted into a Series of Simple Tables There is a complex data table (one with multiple column or row headers) on the page. Even when properly coded, complex tables can be difficult for Assistive Technology users to understand. In most cases, complex tables can be broken up into a series of simple tables. Modify the complex data table into a series of simple data tables.

Headings

Issue Title Issue Description Remediation Suggestion
Headings Contain Too Much Information Headings are too verbose and should be condensed. A Heading should be a short, descriptive title of a section or category.

Forms

Issue Title Issue Description Remediation Suggestion
Improve form validation accessibility The messages shown to the user as a result of input errors meet WCAG 2.0, however overall accessibility and usability can be improved. Better alert users of assistive technology that an error has occurred, clearly state by using the word Error, provide a list of all errors at the top of the form, provide a method to skip to the fields with the error. W3 General Technique #83
W3 General Technique #84
W3 General Technique #85
W3 Aria Technique #21
W3 Aria Technique #18
W3 Aria Technique #19

AT Review

Issue Title Issue Description Remediation Suggestion
Confirmation messages within a web page are not announced After an action by the user, there is a URL change and a message displays to the user that is embedded in the site template (For example a successfully submission message). While accessible, assistive technology users must navigate the page to reach the message. Add Aria Live to announce the message to assistive technology on page load. For further assistance see: W3 Aria Live
Content created by Digital Communications Division (DCD)
Content last reviewed on May 24, 2018