Content accessibility

Content editors are responsible for their content’s compliance with federal and state accessibility laws. Below are instructions for content editors at UW Bothell on how to make your web pages accessible when using WordPress. Content editors can also download the accessibility checklist to get more details on what elements of your content need to be accessible and why.


Email for additional assistance.

Download accessibility checklist


Headings should be in semantic order: page title will always be marked as a Heading 1 but within the content areas, content editors can choose between the headings Heading 2 through Heading 5. “Use short headings to group related paragraphs and clearly describe the sections. Good headings provide an outline of the content.” Read more heading tips on the W3C website.

Stylized headings

The point of headings is provide a navigational page structure for your end-user. People don’t read pages, they scan them and good heading use increases how easily an end-user is able to scan and comprehend the information. Don’t use headings for decorative purposes or to bring visual attention to certain aspects of your page.

Image alt text

Images need alternative text: A screen reader will land on the image and say “Graphic of…” and read whatever alternative text has been added into the field. If an image doesn’t load on a page, it will also display the alternative text.

Any image that denotes information requires an alternative description for non-visual devices. If an image is purely decorative and serves no content purpose, then that field can be left blank and our WordPress environment is set up so that the image will automatically be skipped over by a screen reader user.


Tables need headers and captions: Table headers are different from content headings. Columns and rows need to be clearly identifiable as a header for a screen reader to differentiate between what is data and what is header information.

Table Captions

If there is not already a descriptive title that introduces the data table, add a caption. The caption will appear before the table. For example: “Building hours”


Video captioning

In order to be compliant with state and federal accessibility laws, all videos that are a form of official communication must be captioned for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Washington State discount

Washington State has form a contract with 3Play Media to receive a discounted rate for video captioning (and other) services. Currently it costs about $2 per minute of video captioned. When using 3Play, it is possible to send videos to their servers directly from the UW Bothell YouTube channel, and when they’ve completed captioning it, the video will update automatically with the new captions. UW Bothell departments are encouraged to set up their own account with 3Play Media. Please contact with any questions on video captioning.

Free captioning

YouTube is a possibility if you’re looking for free options. Users can type the captions into YouTube directly while listening to the audio. If the video is hosted on a channel that you do not have the login credentials for, you will need to contact the owner of that channel and work directly with them on a solution.

  • Videos should always have closed captioning and YouTube auto-generated does not count as a final product but is a great place to start for manual updates. There are other free and fee-based options as well.
  • Electronic Documents (PDFs, Word Docs, etc.) need to be accessible. How you make it accessible depends on the format (.pdf, .docx, etc.).
  • External applications need to be checked for accessibility prior to procuring it. The university is liable for inaccessible software, programs, etc.; the vendor is not liable. Sometimes need to get certain verbiage in contracts as well to ensure products accessibility.

Communities of practice

Join the AccessibleWeb@U mailing list to hear from a community of UW web designers, developers, and other interested individuals who discuss and share ideas on accessible web design.