eChalk’s website platform has tools to help you make your website more accessible for all website users. eChalk supports compliance with Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA standards.
What is WCAG?
WCAG 2.0 is a set of guidelines for web accessibility developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). They have laid out guidelines for accessibility in four critical domains:
- Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
- Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
- Create content that can be presented in different ways,
- including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
- Make it easier for users to see and hear content.
- Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
- Give users enough time to read and use content.
- Do not use content that causes seizures.
- Help users navigate and find content.
- Make text readable and understandable.
- Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
- Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
- Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.
How does eChalk help me comply with WCAG 2.0?
eChalk’s website platform has built-in tools to help you meet website accessibility and ADA compliance guidelines. It is important to remember that most of the guidelines are about how content is created and presented rather than the website platform itself; the final responsibility for ensuring website compliance rests with the content creator. For example, eChalk allows for alt text on images, but content creators must remember to add the alt text when they add their images. If you consistently use eChalk’s accessibility tools, along with WCAG’s content creation guidelines, you will make your site much more accessible for users.
You can find more information about eChalk’s accessibility tools in our Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)[LS1] .
Quick Tips for Making Your eChalk Site More Accessible
- Always use Alt Text. Every image you use should have alt text applied, preferably when you upload it, so you don't have to go back to add it later. Learn how to add Alt text to your images and icons here.
- Keep Alt Text short and accurate. Alt text should not the same as the caption; it is a short description of what is in the photo itself. (e.g. “student with butterfly” or “baseball trophy.”)
- Page titles matter. Page titles should clearly state where the user is. It is the first thing that users hear on a screen reader. So "Home Page" is not a great title; "Mrs. Clark's 5th Grade Home Page" is a much better title.
- Add Block Titles to your content blocks. Assistive technologies such as screen readers rely on HTML markups to identify sections on a web page and to help the visitor quickly navigate a page using their keyboard so we recommend adding titles to your content blocks whenever possible.
- Do not name links ambiguously. In other words, don’t use “click here” as your link. This is ambiguous and doesn't really let the user know where they are going. The link should describe where it is that it will take you. For example: "Board Meeting Agenda 2/20//2018", not "click here."
- Watch the use of text color. Don't use color alone to convey meaning. For example, don't change the color of text in an RTE block to indicate importance or some other meaning.
- Caption videos. YouTube has automatic captioning that can be enabled for videos. If the caption isn't accurate, they allow you to edit it, so it better reflects your video’s contents. Use their captioning feature or, if you’re not using YouTube to host videos, create transcripts or captions using tools provided by your video host. You can refer to the article below on how to turn on captioning for your embedded Youtube videos for hearing impaired visitors to your site: https://support.automaticsync.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002362403-How-to-force-Closed-Captions-to-appear-on-YouTube-videos-you-own
- Reduce the use of PDFs where possible, or make your PDFs accessible. Sometimes PDF's can be avoided by putting content into a regular web page format. However, for some materials (manuals, handbooks, etc.) you may need a PDF that can be easily downloaded or printed without losing formatting. Where a PDF is needed, you should ensure that the PDF is created to be accessible. This is now an option in Adobe Acrobat and in newer versions of Word when you save files as a PDF. For PDFs and Word documents in Adobe and Microsoft Word, here are articles on how to save them in an accessible format:
- Turn off auto scroll for slideshows, feed blocks, and event blocks. Or you can adjust the transition duration and ensure that the scroll is slow enough so that it can be read by any visitor with a disability. Auto scrolling content usually may trigger accessibility complaints because the content scrolls too fast for a person with disability or for screen reader software to narrate. You can refer here for steps to disable or adjust the transition speed for slideshows, feed blocks, and event blocks.
- Avoid using tables to format your content. Tables that have not been formatted properly for accessibility are difficult for screen readers to narrate. When creating tables we recommend taking the extra steps required to designate the header rows and/or header columns. You can refer to this article on how to create tables in eChalk and designating header rows or headers columns.
- Add an ADA disclaimer at the bottom of your web site. This disclaimer should let visitors know that you are in the process of updating content on your web site for ADA compliance and include an email address they can submit feedback to. You can refer to steps here to add a new row with a text block to the bottom of your homepage.