Accessibility Checklist for Websites

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Most pages on conform to Section 508 standards and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) level AA or better.

Conformance Guidelines

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) aims for the highest level of conformance on with the following guidelines:

The UUA Web Team assesses the accessibility of our home page and other representative pages, with special attention to site-wide features such as navigation, headers, and footers.

Other members of the UUA staff are responsible for the content of individual pages, documents, and media. The Web Team provides training and content review to help ensure the most accessible outcome possible.

Feedback is not only welcome but encouraged! Please contact us with suggestions for improvement or to alert us to a particular problem area.

Summary of Results

  • Section 508 conformance on most pages.
  • WCAG AA or better conformance on most pages.
  • We assessed our site against a 62-point checklist covering our use of media, colors, tables, forms, motion, time, documents, scripts, navigation, and headers.
    • 53 points conform fully or are not applicable, meaning that we do already or can reasonably be expected to live up to these points, e.g. good text alternatives for images, charts, or graphs.
    • 7 points conform in part. We may not have the staff time or funding to meet all these points, e.g. edited captions for long General Assembly business session videos.
    • 2 points don't conform. Synchronized text alternatives to video are currently beyond our budget, and controls used to show or hide page elements with styles or to control video are not hidden when styles are turned off. Accessibility Conformance Checklist

Last assessed in June 2015. 

In addition to using automated tools like Cynthia Says, we manually assess pages on our site against checklists like those from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (508) and WebAIM (508) (WCAG 2.0). The guidelines we have assessed (and our conformance with each) are noted below.


  • Do images that convey contextual content have equivalent alternative text specified in the alt attribute of the img element?
  • Do images that are purely decorative, and not contextual, have empty, or null, alternative text specified, e.g. alt=""?
  • Does information conveyed by background images have equivalent content in text?
  • Does the alternate text convey contextual relevance to the page it is on?
    Yes. A description of each image is entered as alternative text when it is uploaded to our server, and that remains persistent with each display of the image. When an image is added to a page, contextual relevance can be added as a caption. Staff receive training on this point and their work is reviewed.
  • Do images that convey complex content have longdesc attributes or equivalent text content available elsewhere on the page?
  • Does text content contained in images persist when images are not available, i.e. is text contained within images also available as text?

Image Maps

  • Do image map area elements have the link destination correctly titled? If the title attribute is used, it ought not to duplicate the alt text. Are links in server-side image maps repeated elsewhere in the page that are non-graphical, e.g. a normal list of links? Are client-side image maps used instead of server-side image maps? Do client-side image maps have appropriate alternative text for the image, as well as each hot spot region?
    N/A. does not include image maps.


  • Do noframes elements have appropriate equivalent or alternative content for user agents that do not support frames?
    N/A. does not use frames.
  • Does each iframe element have a meaningful title attribute?
  • Does the page have equivalent content for user agents that do not support iframes, or, for non-content iframes, has it been rendered invisible?


  • Is a full text transcript provided for all prerecorded audio?
    Mixed. Transcripts or text equivalents are provided for most new audio.
  • Is a full text transcript provided for all prerecorded video?
    Mixed. Transcripts or text equivalents are provided for most new video.
  • Are open or closed captions provided for all synchronized video?
    Mixed. Captions are provided for most new video.
  • Is fully synchronized text alternative or sound track provided for all video interaction that is not otherwise described?
    No. However, much of our video does not rely on the visual conveyance of information and therefore does not require additional description.


  • Is information conveyed by color also conveyed by context, markup, graphic coding, or other means?
  • Does a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 exist between text, and images of text, and background behind the text?
    Yes. All text colors have tested at level AA or better.
  • Does the color difference between text, and images of text, and background behind the text colors fall between 500 and 600?
    Mixed. The majority of our content has a color difference of 597. The color difference for some callout text can fall as low as 360.
  • Is a correct contrast ratio maintained when images are not available?
  • Are links distinguished from surrounding text with sufficient color contrast and is additional differentiation provided when the link receives focus, e.g. it becomes underlined?

With CSS Disabled

  • color and font information rendered in the browser's default CSS?
  • ... is a correct contrast ratio maintained?
  • ...are headings, paragraphs, and lists obvious and sensible?
  • ...does the order of the page content make sense as read?
  • most text, other than logos and banners, rendered in text rather than images?
  • ...does any content that was invisible before stay invisible?
    No. Text alternatives are provided where possible to identify the purpose of those elements.
  • any content or functionality provided by the CSS through mouse action also provided through keyboard-triggered event handlers?


  • When tables are used for layout, does the content linearize properly when layout tables are turned off? For tables that are used for layout, are th elements orsummary, headers, scope, abbr, or axis attributes NOT used at all?
    N/A. does not use tables for layout.
  • For tables containing data, do th elements appropriately define every row and/or every column headers?
  • For tables containing data, do th elements contain the scope attribute for row and/or column headers that are not logically placed, e.g. in the first row and first column as applicable?
  • For tables containing data, is the summary attribute used to explain the meaning of the table if it is not otherwise evident from context?
  • For complex tables, do th elements appropriately define row and/or column headers? For complex tables, does each th element contain an id attribute unique to the page and/or does each th element and any td element that acts as a header for other elements contain a scope attribute of row, col, rowgroup, or colgroup? For complex tables, does any td element that is associated with more than one th element contain a headers attribute that lists the id attribute for all headers associated with that cell? Are the summary attribute and thead and tbody elements used to clarify the table meaning and structure if needed?
    N/A. does not use complex tables.


  • Do page elements avoid flickering at an unhealthy rate, e.g. less than three flashes per second?
  • Does pages avoid marquee and blink elements?
  • Can automatically moving, blinking, or scrolling content that lasts longer than 3 seconds be paused, stopped, or hidden by the user?


  • Is enough time provided to allow users to read and interact with content?
  • Does the user have control over the timing of content changes?
  • If a page or application has a time limit, is the user given options to turn off, adjust, or extend that time limit?
  • Can automatically updating content be paused, stopped, or hidden by the user or the user can manually control the timing of the updates, e.g. automatically redirecting or refreshing a page, a news ticker, AJAX updated field, a notification alert, etcetera?
  • Can interruptions be postponed or suppressed by the user, e.g. alerts, page updates, etcetera?
  • If an authentication session expires, can the user re-authenticate and continue the activity without losing any data from the current page?
  • Is the functionality of the content predictable, i.e. will a user experience contextual changes only when they take an action?

Documents (PDF, Word, etc.)

  • Does a document have a text-only version? If so, does it meet all Section 508 criteria?
  • Does the text-only version contain the same exact information as the original document?
  • Does the text-only version provide the functionality equivalent to that of the original document?
  • Are links provided to any special readers or plug-ins that are required to interpret page content?
    Not in context. We always label links to non-HTML pages, and we provide a list of required software on our page about, but there aren't in-page links to those downloads.
  • Do special readers or plug-ins comply with the requirements of Section 508 paragraphs §1194.21(a)-(l)?


  • Is an alternative provided for components, e.g. plug-ins & scripts, which are not directly accessible?
    Mixed. Google search and Wufoo forms do not work without JavaScript.
  • Is any content or functionality provided by JavaScript through mouse action also provided through keyboard-triggered event handlers?
  • Are link-type behaviors created with JavaScript on ONLY focusable elements?
  • If content or functionality provided by JavaScript can not be provided to assistive technology, is equivalent content or functionality provided without JavaScript?
    Mixed. Google search and Wufoo forms do not work without JavaScript.


  • Do form non-text controls, e.g. input type image, provide a text alternative that identifies the purpose of the non-text control?
  • Does each appropriate input element or form control have an associated and visible label element or title attribute?
    Yes (AAA).
  • Are all cues for filling out the form available to users of assistive technology, e.g. mandatory fields, help boxes, error messages?
  • Is the tab order to reach the form and the tab order between form elements logical and consistent with the normal and visual order of entering form data?
  • Are logically-related groups of form elements identified with appropriate fieldset and legend elements?
  • Is placeholder text, if used, NOT redundant or distracting to users of assistive technology?
  • Do form error messages identify the error(s) to the user and describe them to the user in text?

Navigation & Headers

  • If repetitive navigation links are at the beginning of the source of the HTML page, can a user navigate via a link, the “skip link”, at the top of each page directly to the main content area?
  • If a “skip link” is provided, does the anchor element contain text content that is visible with CSS disabled?
  • If a “skip link” is provided and it is hidden with CSS, is it available to users of assistive technology, e.g. not using the display:none method?
  • Can a user navigate over groups of links, between multiple groups of links, and between sections of the page content by means of section headings or visible and audible local links?
  • Are heading elements used to convey logical hierarchy and denote the beginning of each section of content?

Suggestions for improvement are welcome: contact us.

About the Author

Kasey Kruser

Kasey is the Front-End Web Developer and Tech Lead. She programs and designs for UUA websites, with a special focus on usability and accessibility.

For more information contact .