508 Compliance Guidelines

508 compliance is the means to design content that can be read by users requiring assistive technology, such as screen readers.  Additionally, a page that is 508 compliant is more easily read by search engines such as Bing and Google, which can aid in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your content.

The following is a basic list of guidelines to follow for content managers who are implementing content into any given web page.

  • Any images or figures on the page should be accompanied by relative alt tags that briefly state what is being shown.
  • Any multimedia presentations should have efficiently implemented captions and any audio descriptions that can aid the viewer in receiving the correct information.
  • Keywords should be highlighted in contrasting color from the rest of the general text, but an overuse of coloring should be avoided.
  • An appropriate document should be readable by all, and not leave any detail out that can only be seen using a style sheet.
  • When adding a link to a page, encode the link in a word or phrase that basically shows where the link will redirect the viewer to. In other words, do not merely paste the link to another site “as is” into the content of a page. One can achieve this by clicking on the “Insert/Edit Link” button as shown in Figure 1. After selecting the link type as “URL,” enter the URL into the respective field. Encoding this link will require you to switch to HTML view by clicking on Source button at the top of the editor. Change the text that appears between the link.  For example, change www.drexelmed.edu to Drexel University College of Medicine.
  • Use proper heading tabs for the page and any other tables or figures that would normally require one.
  • When creating a page that contains a video or related figure that requires the use of any applet or plug-in, the page must have a link to that necessary application.
  • For lengthy pages, the top of the page should contain any links to any successive paragraphs or sections further down the document, in the form of a Table of Contents. In order to do this, enter an anchor by clicking on the “Insert/Edit Anchor” button after selecting what line is to contain the anchor (See Figure 2). Enter a name in for the anchor in the field provided, and click on the OK button. The name of the anchor is the same name that is going to appear as a link in the Table of Contents. After the anchor has appeared, click on the “Insert/Edit Link” button and select the link type as “Link to anchor in text.” Select the name of the anchor created, and click on the OK button (See Figure 3).
  • If a timed response is needed to allow the user to remain on a page, the time response indicator should allow viewers enough time to indicate so.

NOTE: Most of the pages that content managers will create for this site may only require the use of a few of the above mentioned guidelines, depending only on what the page is actually displaying.

For more detailed information on 508 compliance guidelines, go to www.webaim.org/standards/508/checklist.




Figure 1. This is the window that appears after the Insert/Edit Link button has been clicked and the link type URL has been selected.



Figure 2. Enter the name of the anchor in the Anchor Name field. This name will be the same as in the Table of Contents.



Figure 3. The anchor, which was created prior to this step, is indicated by the red oval on the left of the figure.