|"Print to PDF" will strip out all accessibility tags previously added in MS Office applications. Instead, use "Export" or "Save As PDF" when converting your document.|
|Table of Contents|
It is important to make sure that your documents are accessible to as many people as possible. For FHWA and other publications funded through the U.S.Government, Section 508 compliance is required. In addition, there are an increasing number of lawsuits being filed against entities that post documents that are not accessible.
For tutorials, checklists, and guidelines, see https://www.section508.gov/content/build/create-accessible-documents.
. Please write reports and other research documentation with accessibility in mind. For tutorials, checklists, and guidelines, see https://www.section508.gov/create/documents/
Excerpt from Texas Department of Information Resources https://dir.texas.gov/electronic-information-resources-eir-accessibility/eir-accessibility-roles-responsibilities/eir :
UT Web Publishing https://webpublishing.utexas.edu/accessibility/best-practices
UTS 150 Access by Persons with Disabilities to Electronic and Information Resources Procured or Developed by The University of Texas System Administration and The University of Texas System Institutions https://www.utsystem.edu/sites/policy-library/policies/uts-150-access-persons-disabilities-electronic-and-information-resources-procured-or-developed-university-of-texas-system-administration-and-university-of-texas-system-institutions
University Handbook, 2022, Chapter 6 Section 1:
University Handbook, 2022, Chapter 1 Section 1:
|Check with the editor to ensure that you are using the most up-to-date report and technical memo templates that are designed to use accessible styles and reduce the amount of remediation that will be needed before publishing.|
- TxDOT Research Library indexed accessibility resources: https://library.ctr.utexas.edu/Presto/search/SearchResults_ClearCriteria.aspx?q=(catalog.category:accessibility)
- Use the accessibility tools built into MS Office and other products that you use to create documents. Checklists for specific applications: https://webaim.org/resources/evaloffice/
- AASHTO RAC Presentation about Accessibility: AASHTOSummerRAC2019_Section508ComplianceFinal_7-19-2017.pdf
- NOAA Central Library Accessibility LibGuide: https://libguides.library.noaa.gov/Section508/CreatingDocs
- National Transportation Library Accessibility LibGuide: https://transportation.libguides.
- "Print to PDF" will strip out all accessibility tags; instead, use "Export" or "Save As PDF."
- Graphics com/accessibility/resources
- Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities Access to Information: https://gov.texas.gov/organization/disabilities/accessible_communications
Accessible Tables: A PowerPoint presentation by Michael Molina, Oklahoma DOT, June 9, 2021. https://transportation.libguides.com/ld.php?content_id=61899149
|Avoid inserting a table as an image. For TRB paper submissions, inserting a table as an image is grounds for an automatic desk rejection.If inserting a table as an image, it must be given alt-text just like any other image. Images containing text must contain–verbatim–all of the text contained in the image. A non-sighted reader must be able to obtain the exact information that a sighted reader can.|
Non-text content (images and equations) must include alt text that screen readers can use to describe the content.
- UTRGV handout: https://www.utrgv.edu/eolc/_files/2017/posters/handouts/a-guide-to-alternative-text.pdf
- A decision tree for creating alt-text https://www.w3.org/WAI/tutorials/images/decision-tree/
Before finalizing a document, screenshot and re-insert multi-component charts, graphs, equations, or Smart Art graphics so that alt-text can be added to describe the whole image instead of writing alt-text for each individual component (e.g., chart lines, arrows, photo collages, photos with overlay drawings, etc)
Detailed Alt-text best practices (includes comparisons of good versus unacceptable alt-text):
Mathematical symbols, calculations, equations
- Penn State Guidance for accessible equations (including LaTeX guidance): https://accessibility.psu.edu/math/equations/
- Michigan DOT guidance handout (11 pages): https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT-Research-Accessibility-Guidelines_658743_7.pdf
Mathspeak (examples of shorthand for use in alt-text): https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/quick-tutorial/index.php?verbosity=b&explicitness=0&interp=all
For complex equations that include matrices, layout, nested fractions, etc., It could be helpful to review samples the MathSpeak super-brief semantics to incorporate shorthand alt-text like
"StartFrac"/"EndFrac" bookends for identifying complex fractions https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/grammar-rules/?rule=fractions&description=Fractions&id=7
"StartRoot"/"EndRoot" bookends for identifying square root calculations https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/grammar-rules/?rule=radicals&description=Radicals&id=9
"l-par"/"r-par" or "l-brace"/"r-brace" for left- and right-parentheses or left- and right-braces
"Sub"/"Base" and "Sup"/"Base" for identifying the beginning and end of complex subscripts and superscripts, and "SupSup" to identify a superscript within a superscript: https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/grammar-rules/?rule=scripts&description=Superscripts%20and%20Subscripts&id=8
"ModAbove"/"With" and "ModBelow"/"With" to indicate modifiers: https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/grammar-rules/?rule=stacked&description=Modifiers%20and%20Stacked%20Expressions&id=11
- Describing Matrices and binomials: https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/grammar-rules/?rule=linearalg&description=Linear%20Algebra&id=15
To test color contrast, you need the exact value for each color used. If testing colors that are on a website, try a color picker browser add-on to find this value. For desktop applications, free software such as Paciello Group's free Colour Contrast Analyser may help.
- Graph design, color, and accessibility
Bar Chart design, color, and accessibility
Even if you are color-coding charts, make sure values or labels are included with each bar for screen readers. If the color differences are significant to understanding the chart, make sure that they have sufficient color contrast and difference in darkness for a colorblind user to interpret.
Example 1. The below bar chart includes labels on each bar. Color contrast needs to be checked to make sure that there is enough contrast between the white text (foreground) and the red, orange, blue, and gray bars (background). In addition, if the bar colors are significant and correspond with a key, then the contrast between each bar color also needs to be checked.
To check the foreground (text) against the background (bar), check the color codes on WebAIM's Contrast Checker or other tool.