Tips and Guides to Accessible Content

Using Alt Text for Images

Alt text, or Alternative text, is the description that will be provided to any end-users that cannot view your image.

These end users may be using a screen reader due to a visual impairment. Or they may be using a browser that is not configured to display images.

In these circumstances, the Alt text of images is very important - as it explains to your end users the content of your image, so that they do not miss out on any important information.

University of Western Sydney logo

An example of appropriate alt text would be 'Western Sydney University logo' and would appear in the code as <img alt="Western Sydney University logo">

For more information, see Why is the 'Alt text' so important?

Hypertext Links

Similarly to alt text, all links should have appropriate text to make sure that the content and functionality of the link is understood. Generic terms like 'Click Here' and 'More info' should always be avoided, and replaced with meaningful link descriptions e.g. 'The Web Services Unit provides information about website accessibility.' Or 'More information about accessibility can be found through the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative' (opens in a new window)

For further information and resources please visit the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (opens in a new window)

Multimedia Captioning and Transcripts

Just as images aren't available to people who cannot see, audio files aren't available to those who cannot hear. If using any multimedia which relies on sound (e.g. videos or audio files), text transcripts should be available to make the information accessible to those who are deaf, hard of hearing as well as to search engines and other technologies which cannot hear. All multimedia should also be appropriately captioned with a meaningful description of the content.For further information and advice, visit ourHow to caption YouTube videos page


Page Organisation

The hierarchy of information on a web page plays an important role in the access of information from assistive devices, usability and search engine optimisation. Heading 1 (or H1 headings) are in built into the page and will automatically be the name of the page you have created. This means that the page name should be a short but suitable description of the page contents.

If a page is correctly labelled with an appropriate heading, it will increase usability, allow technologies like screen readers to prioritise information and be recognised easily within search engines.H1 headings should not be used throughout the main content of your webpage. Instead, use H2 and H3 headings (do not use H4 or H5 headings) in a strategic, sequential order that allows the end-user to distinguish the hierarchy of information on the page.

Links Opening in a New Window

To meet accessibility standards, all links that open in a new window must have the ( opens in a new window )(opens in a new window) icon to allow screen readers to access information which opens in a new browser window or as a separate document.

Please note, there are only 3 specific circumstances in which information should open in a new window. These are:

  • Links opening to an external non-Western Sydney University site.
  • Links that direct away from a particular section of the Western Sydney University website in which it is necessary that the viewer has simultaneous access to the original source.
  • Downloadable documents - e.g. printable or online forms, word documents, PDFs.

To update existing links and make them open in a new window, or to add the icon to the link, please follow the steps below.

1. With your mouse, single left-click on the existing hyperlink. The Edit+ link manager tool will appear.
Highlight link text label

2. Click on the blue 'Toggle Link Options' button.

Toggle link options 

3. Click the button for 'Opens in a new window'.

openbs in a new window button 

4. Click 'Apply Changes'
New Window Drop Down Menu

5. Once the link has been saved to open in a new window, you need to type ( opens in a new window ) after the link and this will change to the icon (opens in a new window)

6. Save your changes.

For assistance with creating new hyperlinks, visit the Edit+ Online Manual Hyperlinks page.