Accessible text

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is the leading authority on web accessibility. UVic aims for a minimum of level AA compliance, as defined by WCAG.

Page titles

Page titles (aka 'display names' in some Cascade versions) are very important for accessibility. Your page’s title is the first thing a screenreader will read when a user goes to a new web page.

They are also:

  • visible in the browser window/tab when viewing a web page
  • displayed in search results

Good page titles are important to help people know where they are and move between pages open in their browser.

Best practice

A descriptive page title has the important and unique identifying information first:

Note: you only need to include the first part of the page title as your display name; the other information (site name and  “University of Victoria”) will be automatically added when the page is viewed in a browser.


Using headings to break up sections of text helps readers digest large amounts of information.

Users rarely read everything on a page in its entirety; most will scan the headings before deciding whether to read the text below.

For people who cannot use a mouse, headings allow a user to navigate to different sections of the page using a keyboard.

Best practices

Properly marked up headings are identified by screenreaders.

  • Headings follow a hierarchy, from 1-6, though it’s rare to need more than four levels of headings
  • In HTML these are denoted by h-tags:
    <h1>Heading level 1</h1>
    <h2>Heading level 2</h2>
    <h3>Heading level 3</h3>
    <h4>Heading level 4</h4>
  • All pages should have at least one heading; by default, your page title will be h1
  • Always use the heading styles in Cascade to format headings properly
    • Don’t just boldface regular text
  • Order is important -- never skip heading levels or mis-order them
  • Your headings should be meaningful and descriptive, without being overly long or wordy (see Writing for the web for readability guidelines)

Users who rely on screenreaders use descriptive link text to help them understand what to expect when they click on a link--will they be taken to a new site (external link), or another page within the same site (internal link)? Will clicking on the link download a file?

Best practices

  • Always use the link styles in Cascade to apply the right context (external, file, email, etc)
  • Use a descriptive link title/text instead of “click here”, “learn more” or the URL itself
    • E.g. Vikes Nation
      • The arrow icon indicates this is an external link—the user will be taken to a different website when they click on the link.
      • The descriptive text in this case is the name of the site being linked to

Link classes

Additional resources