Making our website available and usable to all

Lesley has committed to providing a new website that meets AACertification-level Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). For a high-level overview of these guidelines, please refer to

Many of these accessibility standards overlap with the web writing best practices presented in the SEO section of our web support guide, but some are new. This section presents the full list of writing standards recommended by the Web Accessibility Initiative and explains how they contribute to the overall accessibility of the site.



1. Create informative, unique page titles

Page titles are important for orienting readers. They tell users what information can be found on a particular page, and they help them more successfully select a page from search results.

When developing page titles:

  • Step into the shoes of the user and think about relevant terms
  • Place most important search terms at the start of the title
  • Use descriptive words that summarize the page’s content

2. Use headings to convey meaning and structure

Screen readers use headings and subheadings to help guide visually impaired users through web pages. Headings also help sighted users more quickly scan and understand the content on a page.

  • Use short headings to group related paragraphs and to describe the sections clearly
  • Write headings so that they provide an outline of the page’s content
  • Make headings as concrete and descriptive as possible

3. Make link text meaningful

In addition to simply reading the content on the page from top to bottom, screen readers can present users with a list of links that appear on it. If your linked text is generic (“click here,” “read more,” or “learn more”) the person using the screen reader will have no context for determining where the links will take them. More specific link text (e.g., “Learn more about the XYZ program,” or “Read more about our academic advising services”) better orients readers.

4. Write meaningful text alternatives for images

A visually impaired user with a screen reader can only “see” what is read to them. If a page is relying on an image to convey meaning and that meaning is not provided as text anywhere else on the page, the user does not have access to the same content as a sighted user.

  • For images that convey meaning, write alternative text that provides the information or function of the image.
  • For purely decorative images, alternative text is not required.

Note: Alternative text is not necessarily visible on the page; it appears within page code, making it available to a screen reader. Longer descriptions may need to accompany infographics, either inline on the page or linked out as a separate page.

5. Create transcripts and captions for multimedia

Transcripts and captions will help ensure that the same content is available to all users regardless of their physical abilities.

  •  For audio-only content, such as a podcast, provide a transcript.
  •  For audio and visual content, such as training videos, also provide captions.

Be sure that transcripts and captions include spoken information as well as any sounds that are important for understanding the content.

6. Provide clear instructions

Site visitors with learning difficulties or other cognitive disabilities might struggle with complex data entry or interactions. For that reason, when a user is required to take an action, make the experience as intuitive as possible.

  • Ensure that instructions, guidance, and error messages are clear andeasy to understand and that they avoid unnecessarily technical language.
  • Describe any input requirements, such as date formats, on forms.

7. Keep content clear and concise

All site visitors benefit from content that follows web writing best practices; however, users with learning difficulties in particular will benefit from content that is clearly formatted and easy to read and understand. Follow these guidelines, many of which were outlined earlier:

  • Write in short, clear sentences and paragraphs
  • Avoid unnecessarily complex words and phrases
  • Use list formatting as appropriate
  • Consider using images, illustrations, video, audio, and symbols to help clarify meaning