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Strongly Encouraged Fixes for HTML Files

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

  • Required Fixes (RFs): violations that must be corrected and have direct mappings to either Section 508 or HHS accessibility guidelines.
  • Strongly Encouraged Fixes (SEFs): issues that are violations of WCAG 2.0 and will be elevated to Required Fixes once the 508 Refresh goes into effect; they should be proactively fixed now.
  • 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.
 

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Issue Title Issue Description Remediation Suggestion Testing Overview List of Tools
Alternative Text for Linked Image is Null Image with null alt attribute (alt="") is the only element in the link. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.1.1. Add text, either as link text (recommended), or within the alt attribute.  For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools flag the linked images a null alt attribute. Manual inspection of the HTML by viewing the source is used to confirm. Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Alternative Text is Insufficient or Incomplete Alternative text does not convey the same information as the image. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.1.1. Edit alt attribute to send the “take home message” the image is intended to convey. For further assistance see this link . For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools show the alt text of images. Manual inspection compares the alt text to the image to make sure all information is captured. Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Single Image Would be Better Understood as a Series of Images There is a single image that is constructed to show relationships between a series of objects. These objects and relationships would be better understood by assistive-technology users as a series of images with appropriate descriptive alternative text. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.1.1. Modify the image into a series of images that would be better understood by users of assistive technology. Typically, the first image would contain alt text that describes the overall purpose as well as the significance of the images that follow. For this ASPA-DCD uses Manual inspection. Inspect the document to see if there is any single image that has visual connections between text such as a timeline or flow chart that have lengthy or insufficient alternative text. Construct an alternate version as a series of images with appropriate descriptive alternative text and submit to assistive-technology expert for comparison and review.  Assistive Technology: JAWS, NVDA, Window-Eyes
Scope Attributes are Missing  A simple table has row and column headers without scope attributes. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1. Add the Scope attribute to TD cells to allow assistive technology to correctly identify the column(s) or row(s) being referenced. For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools identify scopes on cells. Manual inspection verifies whether tables need it. Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Longdesc Attribute Link is not Visible to Everyone The deprecated longdesc attribute is used on a complex image. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.  Modify so that the longdesc link is available to all users. For further assistance see this link For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools identify images with a longdesc attribute. Manual inspection verifies the accuracy. Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Grouped Form Fields Lack Fieldset and Legend Form fields that are grouped together, such as radio buttons and check boxes, do not have fieldset and legend tags. These tags enhance understandability for assistive technology users. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1.  Add fieldset and legend tags to grouped form fields. For further assistance see this link  . For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools detect missing Form Fields. Manual inspection of source code is used to detect fieldsets missing. Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Document Structure is not Logical Due to Missing Headings One or more Heading levels are skipped on the page, creating an illogical reading order. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.2. Code page headings so that there is a logical progression from H1 to H6 and that there are no headings skipped. For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools detect missing Heading levels. Manual inspection of source code is used to confirm. Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Graph/Chart Contains Color-Only Information or Legend There is a graph/chart that contains color-only information or a color-only legend making it inaccessible. There is equivalent information in the surrounding text, however the graph/chart is not able to stand on its own, depriving color-blind individuals of the same skimming abilities as individuals without a color-vision  This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.4.1. Modify the color-only information or legend of the graph to include alternate shadings or patterns better enabling the graph to stand on its own (diagonal lines, dots, etc.). For this ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. Inspect the document to see if there is any chart or graph with a color-only information or a color-only legend. Print on black and white paper to see if the information can be distinguished as is. Black-and-white printing and the Colorblindness SimulateCorrect tool by Seewald Solutions and the colorblind web page filter  at http://colorfilter.wickline.org/
Title is not Set for Pages Pages do not have required <title> tag as part of the markup. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.2. Add the <title> tag for all pages. For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools detect missing titles. Manual inspection of source code is used to confirm. Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Title Tag is not Updated to Reflect Content The page title is not updated when a new page is loaded. Users have a more difficult time gaining a understanding of the page. In addition, the page title is used to create the title of bookmarks. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.2. Add or update title tag to reflect content of page. Recommend each page title of a site be unique. For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools detect missing titles. Manual inspection of source code is used to confirm. Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Modal Dialog does not Hide Underlying Content Virtual Dialog Box appears, but content "underneath" it can still be interacted with. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.3. Code the dialog using ARIA. For further assistance see this link  . For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. The keyboard and assitive technology is used to tab through content to determine if it is hidden.  Assistive Technology: JAWS, NVDA, Window-Eyes
Modal Dialog Disrupts Focus A modal dialogue appears that does not receive programmatic focus. Assistive Technology is not aware of modal dialogs unless care is taken to properly code these dialogs for accessibility. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.3. When a modal (virtual) Dialog Box appears, keyboard focus must be placed on the first actionable control. If there is no other actionable control, then focus should be placed on the close button. To ensure that the modal dialog operates correctly, code the dialog using ARIA. For further assistance see
this link  .
For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. The keyboard and assistive teahnology is used to tab through content to track focus.  Assistive Technology: JAWS, NVDA, Window-Eyes
Focus is Lost after Closing a Modal Dialog  Keyboard focus does not return to the last visited location upon closing a modal dialogue. An Assistive Technology user has to navigate the  entire page again attempting to locate the last visited location. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.3. After closing the dialog, Return keyboard focus to the last visited location. Placing focus on the last visited page element allows a user to quickly and efficiently resume their task. To ensure that the modal dialog operates correctly, code the dialog using ARIA. For further assistance see
this link  .
For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. The keyboard is used to tab through content to track focus.  Assistive Technology: JAWS, NVDA, Window-Eyes
Modal Dialog is not Detectable by Assistive Technology A Virtual Dialog Box does not appear to users of Assistive Technology. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.3. Code the dialog using ARIA. For further assistance see this link   For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. Assistive Technology is used to attempt to detect dialog.  Assistive Technology: JAWS, NVDA, Window-Eyes
Modal Dialog is not in Line with Page Content The code for a Virtual Dialog Box is not located in the appropriate part of the Document Object Model. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.3. Move code to be adjacent to the control that triggers the dialog. For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. HTML source is viewed to determine placement of code for Dialog. No tools used.
Generic Link Text is Present Generic link text such as ‘Click Here’, ‘Read More’, etc. is used, and there are no clues to link destination or funciton in the text immediately surrounding the link. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.4. Modify generic link text such as ‘Click Here’, ‘Read More’, etc. to a value so a user can understand the destination out of context and/or ensure that the text surrounding the link provides context and the link's functionality and destination. For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. Page content is scanned and generic link text identified. Surrounding text is evaluated to see if proper context for the link is given. No tools used.
Language is not Set for the Page The human language in which the page is written is not specified. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 3.1.1. Add lang attribute to <html> element.  For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools announce missing language. Manual inspection is used to confirm. Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Language is not Set for a Portion of the Page Parts of the page are written in a language other than the primary language of the page, but not identified.  This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 3.1.2. Use lang attribute on appropriate tag to indicate change of language.  For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. HTML source for any foreign language portions is viewed for language attribute.  No tools used.
Semantic Markup (HTML Tags) do not Reflect Document Structure CSS is used to alter an HTML tag to mimic the appearance of a different tag. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.1. Use tags to designate logical, hierarchical, structure of document, including headings, tables, forms, and lists. For further assistance see this link  . For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools flag some tags. Manual inspection is used to confirm.  Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Summary is Present in a Layout Table A table used only for layout or presentation contains a summary attribute. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.1. Remove summary attribute. For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools identify layout tables. Manual inspection of HTML source is used to verify. Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Orphan Label Tags are Present A label tag is used on a text string that does not identify a form field.  This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.1. Change tag to appropriate semantic usage. For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools are used to detect orphan labels. Manual inspection of HTML source is used to confirm.  Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Single Item List Structures are Present HTML list tags are used, but a single visual list is broken up into multiple single item list structures, which is confusing to Assistive Technology users. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.1. Properly code list structures. For further assistance see this link   For this item, ASPA-DCD uses both manual inspection and an automated tool. Automated tools are used to detect lists. Manual inspection of HTML source is used to confirm.  Accessibility Tools: WAVE, Developer's Toolbar
Active and Inactive Tabs are not Detectable by Assistive Technology A visual tab implementation is used. A method to explain the implementation to Assistive Technology users should also be present to enhance understandability. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.2. Provide a method for screen reader users to understand the elements are tabs (hidden text, WAI-ARIA) and tell when a tab is active or inactive. For further assistance see
this link   or
this link  .
 
For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. Assistive Technology is used to detect state of any tabs. Manual inspection of HTML source is used to verify. Assistive Technology: JAWS, NVDA, Window-Eyes
The State of a Page Element is Missing Elements on the page do not have current state information. State means what condition a particular element is in. For example, a  checkbox can be checked or a tree can be expanded or collapsed. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.2. Add ARIA controls to allow assistive technology to determine the state of an element. For further assistance see this link or this link  . For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. Assistive Technology is used to detect the state of all dynamic elements. Manual inspection of HTML source is used to verify. Assistive Technology: JAWS, NVDA, Window-Eyes
The State of a Page Element is Incorrectly Coded Elements on the page are not correctly updating state information. State means what condition a particular element is in. For example, a  checkbox can be checked or a tree can be expanded or collapsed. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.2. Add ARIA controls to allow assistive technology to determine the state of an element. For further assistance see this link or this link  . For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. Assistive Technology is used to detect the state of all dynamic elements. Manual inspection of HTML source is used to verify. Assistive Technology: JAWS, NVDA, Window-Eyes
The Role of a Page Element is Missing Elements on the page do not have correct role information. The role of an element gives the Assistive Technology user information on how to interact with a element. For example, if an item is a menu, the user would interact with this element using arrow keys, if it is a checkbox, the user would interact  with it by pressing the space bar. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.2. Add role information to controls using ARIA. For further assistance see this link or this link  . For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. Assistive Technology is used to detect the role of all dynamic elements. Manual inspection of HTML source is used to verify. Assistive Technology: JAWS, NVDA, Window-Eyes
The Role of a Page Element is Incorrectly Coded Elements on the page are not correctly updating role information. The role of an element gives the Assistive Technology user information on how to interact with a element. For example, if an item is a menu, the user would interact with this element using arrow keys, if it is a checkbox, the user would interact  with it by pressing the space bar. This issue is a violation of WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 4.1.2. Add role information to controls using ARIA. For further assistance see this link or this link  . For this item, ASPA-DCD uses manual inspection. Assistive Technology is used to detect role of all dynamic elements. Manual inspection of HTML source is used to verify. Assistive Technology: JAWS, NVDA, Window-Eyes

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Content created by Digital Communications Division (DCD)
Content last reviewed on September 1, 2015