Check out tips on best web accessibility and email practices and the numerous campus resources to help your website shine.

Support and Resources

Oregon State University offers many resources to help you build and maintain your Drupal website:

  • OSU uses Drupal and Acquia for its web presence. Check out resources to support your Drupal website, including trainings and a site building guide.
  • Ask questions and get to know other digital communicators working on the web through Microsoft TeamsDigital community meetings are also open to anyone who works on websites or in digital communications at OSU.
  • Open Labs are held every week for website owners and editors to bring questions and get assistance from the Digital Experience office and University Marketing professionals. Open labs are held on Fridays from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Monsido is a web tool available at OSU that scans websites and helps identify potential issues relating to accessibility, analytics, SEO, links, and files. Contact Digital Experience for information or to get set up with an account.
     
Web Accessibility

building websites

Some tips on building user-friendly sites:

  • Make sure to keep your text short and concise, and write in a conversational style that will keep readers engaged. Make your text scannable and use bulleted lists to draw out information.
  • Keep your valued information at the top. Content that requires users to scroll vertically loses up to 80% of its readership. Your introductory sentences or paragraphs for any key landing pages are prime real estate for your messages.
  • Drupal's Paragraphs feature helps build the layout of your page. Use the prestyled headers and make sure your headings clearly indicate the content of each section. Keep titles relevant and short.
  • Oregon State University complies with web ADA standards, which means all web text should be accessible to users with any type of vision impairment. Check out WebAIM's information on best practices, and also use Monsido as a tool to evaluate accessibility.
  • If uploading a document with substantial text, make sure it is a readable PDF for accessibility purposes or a similar document readable by a screen reader. Do not upload documents as images.

Use the site building guide for advice on how to build an organized, user-friendly and accessible site unique to your organization, and read on to learn some of our do's and don'ts of utilizing alternative text.


"Do's" of Using Alternative Text
  • Do be mindful of choosing background images. Alternative text cannot be used with background images, so background images should only be used for decorative purposes.
  • Do use captions over alternative text when it makes sense. For example, if an image is a headshot, it may make sense to use a caption rather than alternative text so anyone, regardless if using a screenreader or not, can understand the image.
  • Do use alternative text to describe where images link to. For example, you might say, "Division of Student Affairs home page" when including a link to the home page.
"Don'ts" of Using Alternative Text
  • Avoid using images that have text within them, because screenreaders will not read the text embedded in an image. If you must, ensure that the text is short (e.g., the name of a campaign) and use alt text to identify the text in the image.
  • Don't be redundant in alternative text. For example, if you include a caption with a person's name, it's not necessary to include alternative text with that person's name as well. 
  • Don't create alternative text with the words "image of", "picture of", "graphic of", etc. Screenreaders will read images as such already, so including these words will make your alternative text redundant.

best email practices

Most university staff utilize Outlook for email. Learn how to make your Outlook email accessible for Windows, Mac, mobile systems and more.

It's a great practice to use Georgia, one of the university's branded fonts, or an alternative system font when creating formatted emails in Mailchimp or another email service provider (or when you are hand coding html emails). The alternative system fonts are Impact and Verdana. 

Like websites, it's important to include alternative text when adding images to emails. It's a best practice not to use images where text is part of the image itself.