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Things to Keep in Mind

In General

  • Do NOT use the System Default Template. For Tabs layout, select Accessible 1-column (don't worry. it's not restricted to one column). For Side-Nav, select Accessible 1-column. (Side-Nav only allows for 1 column)
  • Build a libguide by adding book, link and database assets. Avoid using Rich Text for this purpose.
  • Do not "Hide" database and book descriptions.
  • Use Rich Text only for brief chunks of explanatory text, images, etc.
  • Think about structure.
    • The title of a LibGuide is Heading Level 1
    • The tabs are read out as a list of links
    • Each box title is Heading Level 2
    • Headings within boxes, if necessary, should be Heading Level 3, Heading Level 4, etc. in hierarchical order.
    • If you are creating a list of options, considerations, steps, etc. use a bulleted or numbered list rather than simply a list of sentences with spaces between them.
    • Do no point to things with phrases like "on the left" or by color.
  • Additional considerations:
    • Do not use html for style. (e.g. <center> </center> to center text).
    • Do not use older (deprecated) html tags (e.g. <b> <i>, etc.)
    • Do not underline for emphasis. Underlined texts are seen as links.


  • Font size should be consistent throughout the guide. Avoid using Rich Text tools to alter font size or using <b> or <font> tags to format text.
  • Do not use Heading tags simply to to make the font size larger. A heading tag is part of the structure of a page and should be "heading" something. Do not use color, bold, etc. to indicate a Heading within a box. Use Heading 3, Heading 4, etc. in hierarchical order*

*You can use CSS to change the size of the Headings.


  • Images that are links must have a name in the alt text field
  • images that are meant to convey information should either have the information in the alt text field or the information should be added to the text of the document.
  • Images that are purely decorative should have alt="" in the image source code.(Note: If you are using the add image feature in LibGuides and leave the alternative text field blank, alt="" will be added to the source code.)


  • Do not use tables for layout


  • All videos must be captioned to meet WCAG AA 2.0 standards

Links to pdfs and other documents

  • Must be accessible


Building a LibGuide from Scratch with Accessibility Principles in Mind:

Accessibility Checkers

Please note: Accessibility checkers are only one part of the process. You will still need to read through your guide to be sure it would make sense if your eyes were closed.

Document Accessibility

Gail Steinhart gave a workshop on document accessibility on June 3, 2020:

When we create documents to share at work, making the practice of accessibility a habit is not difficult to do and signals respect for our colleagues and library users who may have disabilities and/or use assistive technology. This workshop will introduce the basic principles of accessible documents. We will focus on how to make Word documents accessible, and how to convert them to PDF without losing accessibility features. Many of the principles also apply to other programs. The workshop will be offered via zoom and will be recorded. Note: This workshop will not cover remediation of websites, PDFs, or a/v material. IT@Cornell offers guidance (including PDF remediation) and training on wide range of accessibility topics.
Sponsored by the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Council