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Web Services

Automating Accessibility in the Campus Web

October 1, 2018

In an effort to improve access to the campus web, Web Services has been working on ways to automate accessibility in the Cascade Web Content Management System. This helps our many campus site maintainers fulfill their responsibility of providing site content that meets CSU Accessible Technology Initiative requirements.

First, we added file type indicators for links that open in a new tab or go to a non-HTML file, such as a PDF. These are added to website content automatically.

Second, we are implementing a new feature that warns site maintainers about some common accessibility issues prior to publishing. These warnings are visible directly in the site preview window and provide information on how to fix the relevant errors. Additionally, elements with errors are prevented from being published, ensuring non-accessible content does not make its way onto the live site. The first iteration of this feature

  • Warns maintainers of missing alt attributes on images
  • Warns maintainers of iframes without a “title” attribute
  • Warns maintainers of tables missing either a “summary” attribute, “aria-describedby” attribute, or “caption” element
  • Removes empty heading tags (h1, h2, etc.)
  • Changes <b> tags <strong>
  • Changes <i> to <em>
  • Replaces <u> tags with a <span> and transfers tag attributes.

These new features check for only a few common accessibility errors and are not a replacement for Siteimprove, manual testing, or accessibility training for site maintainers. Content owners should continue to check their Siteimprove reports regularly and fix any content errors.

Instructions on how to fix some of the above issues can be found in the Accessibility Error Messages in Cascade article. If you are a Cascade site owner or maintainer who needs even more accessibility help, please submit an Accessible Content ticket or come to Web Services’ open lab. Hours can be found at under “Our Office.”