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Best Practices for LibGuides

Why accessibility?

There are many different types of people who will access our guides

Some will need to use some kind of assistive technology

Some will see or hear differently

When creating guides content follow these four principles from the  Web Accessibility in Mind or WebAIM Website:

  • Perceivable: Available to the senses (vision and hearing primarily) either through the browser or through assistive technologies (e.g. screen readers, screen enlargers, etc.), it is not said explicitly, but also consider color blindness as well under this heading
  • Operable: Users can interact with all controls and interactive elements using either the mouse, keyboard, or an assistive device.
  • Understandable: Content is clear and limits confusion and ambiguity.
  • Robust: A wide range of technologies (including old and new user agents and assistive technologies) can access the content.



  • All titles should be descriptive and concise, avoid generic titles
  • Use readable fonts, don't mix fonts, LibGuides default font is highly recommended
  • Use headings instead of changing font sizes
  • Don't use underlining for emphasis users may think it is a link
  • Do no use all caps for emphasis, it causes difficultly for screen readers
  • Use emphasis - bold, italics - sparingly
  • Don't rely on color to convey meaning or emphasis (screen readers often cannot read color text and it may cause issues for color blind users)
  • If you must use color make sure there is a strong contrast between the font color and the background


  • Make sure headings are meaningful
  • Never use heading 1, it is the title of your page
  • LibGuides uses heading 2 for box titles
  • Use headings 3, 4, 5 etc for rich text boxes
  • Keep higher numbered headings above lower numbers heading to prevent hierarchy confusion


  • Make sure wording on links makes sense out of context
  • Links should be clear and concise
  • Avoid phrases such as "click here" and "more"


  • Use tables for tabular data only
  • use for data that lays out in rows and columns easily
  • data tables need clear and concise row and column headers for ease of screen readers
  • Do not use tables for layout purposes as it can confuse screen readers
  • Avoid spanned rows as screen readers may not properly parse them
  • Use LibGuide defaults for tables whenever possible as they are already set up for ease of use.


  • Videos and audio should have captions and/or transcripts
  • Include descriptive and appropriate alt text for images use WebAIM Alternative Text for more information on using alt text
  • Do not use images that are just text
  • Do not leave Gallery Boxes on autoplay
  • avoid flashing images if possible being careful with animated GIFs

More info

All information for the Accessibliblty page has been taken from these sources:

  1. WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) 
  2. SpringShare Accessibility in LibGuides video
  3. Washington State University's LibGuide Design Accessibility
  4. Boston College Libraries' LibGuides Standards and Best Practices Accessibility

Tools to check accessibility:

  1. Wave Browser Extension for Chrome and Firefox to check website accessibility
  2. WebAIM Contrast Checker to make sure text can be read based on the text and background color, ensuring it meets and exceeds accessibility guidelines.
  3. Spectrum Chrome Extension simulates how page looks to users with different kinds of color blindness.
  4. SpringShare Accessibility Resources and Video video along with other tools to check accessibility of websites.