Best Practices for Content Authors

If you publish content on OISE websites, you need to be very familiar with accessibility practices and standards for web content. Any content that is inaccessible will affect your site’s compliance with AODA legislation.

The Top 5 Habits to Adopt

  1. Use HTML instead of PDF
  2. Use properly structured tables for data; do not use tables for layout
  3. Add alternative text to images where required
  4. Do not rely on colour to convey meaning
  5. Organize your web content with descriptive headings and meaningful link text

Good Accessibility Practices

  • Use highly contrasting colours to differentiate foreground from background.
  • Do not use colour as the sole indicator of meaning, as colour-blind visitors will not perceive it.
  • Spell out abbreviations when they are first introduced on a website.
  • Avoid overusing italics, underlining and bold text.
  • Zoom or magnify text in your browser to verify it can be resized up to 200 percent without loss of content or functionality.
  • Use link text that names or describes the content of the links’s destination.
  • Write headings and labels that describe the topic or purpose of the content.
  • Place images in-line with text, not floating.
  • Use accessibility checkers and assistive technology (e.g., screen readers) to validate the accessibility of your website.

Accessibility Techniques


  • Identify all data table headers using theelement
  • Provide an appropriate scope attribute for column headers or for row headers
  • See WebAIM’s Table Techniques.

Alternative (Alt) Text on Images

  • The alternative text on an image (HTML attribute alt=”description”) should describe the image’s informational content or its function, not necessarily describe the image.
  • Avoid words like picture of, image of, or link to.
  • If an image is used as a link, the alt text is the link text and therefore must describe the link’s function or destination (e.g., alt=”OISE home page”).
  • If an image does not convey a meaning or is purely decorative, it should have an empty alternative text value (i.e., alt=””)
  • See WebAIM’s alt text techniques.


  • Do not depend on colour to convey information. Be cautious of red/green colour combinations, as a common form of colour-blindness renders these two colours indistinguishable to many people.
  • Do not remove the focus indicators used to show keyboard users where they are on the page; do not use colours with less contrast to make focus indicators less visible.
  • Use high colour contrasts between text and background, or some visitors may find your site illegible.
  • See WebAIM’s Colour Techniques.
  • Use WebAIM’s Contrast Checker to determine which colours will work.