What is Web accessibility?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, federal law requires that all of our online content meet the requirements for web accessibility. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the standard for producing web content that is accessible to individuals with disabilities.

These guidelines seek to improve the experience for those with visual, auditory, memory, context, or physical mobility impairments.

Following these guidelines will ensure the information presented on the website is accessible to all users, whether they’re using screen-readers to listen to content, tabbing through information, or simply reading the page.

A Few Basics

Because of the LiveWhale template-based editing system, there are many common accessibility issues you won’t need to worry about like font size, color and contrast. However, there are a few major accessibility issues that as content editors you need to be following.


Headers are a great way to break up lots of information in a meaningful and organized way.  In the editing toolbar headers are already formatted for you in the LiveWhale system. Simply use the dropdown and choose the correct header accordingly.

Screenshot of the headers dropdown in the editing toolbar.

  • When using headers, make sure they are nested, or in other words, are in descending order.
  • H2 should be used first, then H3, H4 and so on.
  • This helps screen readers follow the information in a relevant way.
  • Headers should not be used to format text because of the way it “looks”.

Photos/Video Captions

All photos must be accompanied by meaningful and descriptive captions. You will be prompted to add a caption to your photo before adding it to the website.

All videos must be closed captioned. 

Meaningful Link Text

Link text helps visitors understand the purpose of the link–and to decide whether to follow the link or not. Link text should clearly describe the content at the link’s destination.

Do not use “Click here” or “Read more” for links.

For example:

No:Click Here for the Emory & Henry Communication Policy on the website.”

Yes:The Emory & Henry Communication Policy can be found on the website.”


Ideally, keeping PDFs off the website is the easiest way to be accessible. Managing content within PDFs can be difficult and information can become outdated quickly. Also never convert a PDF into an image to try and add to your webpages. 

When thinking about adding a PDF here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What is its purpose? Is it even needed? Remember who your audience is.

  • Is it internal or external?

  • Can the info be added to the content of the page?

  • Is it an accreditation requirement?

  • If it’s a fillable form, can it be made into a LiveWhale form?

We have several ways of using the LiveWhale CMS to add accessible information to your pages like blurbs, creating a custom profile, accordions, etc. If you need more information about adding a PDF to your website contact the Web Content Coordinator, Billy Chandler, for more help.