ADA Compliance Guidelines LibGuides

ADA compliance guidelines for LibGuides Content Editors

Alt Text

When adding an image to a LibGuides page, always make sure to put a meaningful description into the alternative text, or “alt tag” of the image.

The alt tag is a brief description of the image and its purpose on the page. Remember that the users who will be seeing the alt tag will likely not be able to see the image, so be sure to include all relevant information about the image’s appearance here.

example of adding an alt tag to an image

For best practices on creating alternative text, please consult the ALT Text Guidelines Google Document (opens in a new window)

LibGuides content types that do not allow alt tags:

Book from the Catalog items: The WAVE tool may show an error for missing alt tags; however, you may leave these alt tags blank and still be in compliance. An alt tag, in this case, would be redundant to a screenreader because it would duplicate the element's title which is next to the image.

Images in Gallery Boxes: Gallery boxes are currently not compliant. The images have non-descriptive alt tags such as "Gallery Image 1" and the controls of the box (that rotate the images) are operable, but not fully accessible with screenreaders. The WAVE tool will not show an error. Springshare is aware of this issue.

Video Content

Make sure that any videos you wish to include on a guide have closed captions.

Closed captions must accurately relate everything spoken as well as all relevant background noises and sound effects, and users must have the ability to turn them on or off during playback. Many videos on Youtube come with accurate closed captions. Any videos that you create should be uploaded to Ensemble, as these videos will be sent out for captioning automatically within a few days of being uploaded. 

Specific remediation cases:

  • If a video was created by yourself or another TUL  colleague on a non-compliant platform (e.g., Jing), it should be reformatted and uploaded to Ensemble. You can put in a help ticket to DLI, if you need help with that process.
  • If a third-party video was found on a free platform that is non-compliant (e.g., Vimeo), you will need to take it down. However you could try to locate a replacement video on Youtube.
  • If a third-party video was found on Youtube but does not have captions, you will need to take it down. However you could to contact the owner of the video and ask them to consider adding captions and notify you when they are done. Note that automatically generated captions are not acceptable.
  • If a third-party video comes from a vendor database that the Temple Libraries pay for, there is no need to  take it down at the moment, since the Electronic Resources Librarian will be working separately with the vendor to obtain ADA compliance.
  • If you are linking to a third-party video (as opposed to embedding the video directly on the LibGuide page), the link can be left in place for new even if you are unsure of the ADA compliance of that video.

ADA Compliant Video Platforms:

Font & Box Styles

Use only the default font color in your LibGuides.

Users with visual disabilities related to color may have difficulty perceiving a wide range of similar colors if they do not have a certain degree of contrast from the background color. Font color which is kept uniform across a set of pages helps users with low vision, color blindness, and cognitive or perceptual disabilities to better understand the relationships between content and structure on a page. Please use only the default style text in content boxes. To emphasize text, use the bold or italics styling button in the editor.

Please note, if you are using colors that do not appear in the print-only/screenreader version of the LibGuide, do not worry about checking them at this time.

Use short paragraphs & bulleted lists

Make content easy to read by making short paragraphs and using bulleted lists to itemize information when possible.

Break up content into small, easy-to-understand chunks for users’ ease of reading/understanding. Paragraphs should average 3 - 5 sentences in length. Most assistive devices allow users to quickly scan through these lists in the same way that they can scan through box headings. Use bulleted or numbered lists whenever possible to display itemized lists of information within content boxes on your guides. You are strongly encouraged to use the “Links: Links & Lists” box to create organized, clear lists of information.

Use boxes to format content

Sections of content should be divided into separate boxes to ensure that content is easy to read.

Content boxes in LibGuides automatically create ADA-compliant Heading structure. If you must create a subsection within your boxes, use the “Heading 3” paragraph style in the editor to maintain the page’s ADA-compliant Heading structure.

Avoid Nested Menu Items

Dropdown menu items are inaccessible through the keyboard, either with screenreader controls or traditional keyboard navigation. This issue has been reported to Springshare, but please refrain from using nested menus where possible.

example of nested menu item

Use data table scoping

As specified in Temple University's Web Accessibility Policy, tables should be used for display of tabular data only. Do not use tables to format content within your boxes. 

In order to be ADA compliant, tables must include proper markup, specifically a summary, a caption, and headings.

To create an ADA compliant data table:

  1. Use the "Insert/Edit Table" button to create a table table icon in rich text editor
  2. In Table Properties select the number of rows and columns.
  3. Click the Headers dropdown and select "both."
  4. Click into the Caption box and give your table a Caption.  The caption should serve as the title of the table.
  5. Click into the Summary box and give your table a Summary.  The summary should briefly describe the purpose of the table. Click ok.
  6. Once your table is inserted, enter the headings across the top and down the side.

screenshot of table properties screenshot of table headings











Example of compliant table: 

Clothing Options
clothing size cost
shirt large 1
pants medium  6

Search Boxes

Link to search boxes in the Box Repository Guide. Database search boxes must contain a label tag in order for screen readers to be able to read them. Boxes in the repository will be updated for ADA compliance. If you wish to create a new search box, please do so in the box repository to ensure that it is checked for ADA compliance.


  • If the PDF was created and is hosted by Temple Libraries and can be edited by one of our staff, it needs to be remediated.  Please send a ticket to and CC Chris Doyle.
  • If the PDF was created by 3rd party vendor, please email Erin Finnerty about the PDF and vendor but leave the pdf as is on your guide.
  • If the PDF was created by a third party who is not a vendor, do nothing for now.
  • If the PDF is hosted by a non-Libraries Temple University website, do nothing for now.
  • If you wish to check the accessibility of a PDF using the Read function in Adobe Reader, here are instructions.

Using WAVE

WAVE is the Web Accessibility Evaluator Tool, a free tool designed to help web content creators check their sites for certain basic levels of accessibility.

Please note, WAVE alone is not a comprehensive accessibility solution and should be used in conjunction with human spot-checking (and other tools for validation such as Compliance Sheriff).  As outline below, there are critical issues for ADA compliance that WAVE will NOT help you detect. 

You MUST follow a WAVE check with a manual human check, to detect issues like these:

  • Inaccurate alternative text
    • WAVE checks for the presence of alternative text but will not be able to detect if most alt text is misrepresentative of its image.
  • Videos without closed captions
    • WAVE cannot detect whether or not a video has closed captions or how accurate those captions are.
  • Inaccessible Springshare box types
    • Some box types built in to Springshare (for example, the Scribd box type) should be avoided, as they are inaccessible and cannot be made accessible by Temple University’s standards in a timely fashion.
  • Use of non-default colors in LibGuides
    • WAVE will not report if non-default colors are used and may not report all color contrast issues that result from their use.
  • Lack of best practices for HTML formatting
    • Content is easier to read and navigate when broken up into short paragraphs and bulleted lists. WAVE will not identify large chunks of text that do not adhere to these standards, but that will likely be difficult for users to read and understand on a screen.

The sections above in this LibGuide contain more information on how to prevent or fix these issues.  Open a ticket with Chris Doyle in DLI after the first time you use WAVE to verify the ADA health of your guide.

ADA Compliance Slideshow