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Webmasters at APS schools and departments use Siteimprove to audit web content for accessibility and quality assurance issues in pages and PDFs posted online.


APS uses Siteimprove, an automated site auditor, to conduct quality assurance and accessibility checks. Siteimprove automates a lot of error checking by highlighting accessibility issues, as well as broken links and typos.

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Video Transcript

[Begins at 5:18.]

So over here we've got different types of issues. Again, because I'm gonna be keeping a fairly high level, not going into the webmaster and developer and technical issues that we may have found on the website, I'm going to be focusing on the editor-level issues. I'm gonna be breaking it off in two different sections. Whether it's editor, webmaster, developer, there are three different levels of conformance within those web content accessibility guidelines. There's level-A, double-A, and triple-A, and the platforms were power scanned for all three of those different types of issues. Now in terms of what they mean for a user because again there's the web accessibility as a concept is, we can understand it, but what do those issues mean for users? So a level A issue would be a true roadblock for that user. So if we were to use a traffic analogy, that's exactly that, you're stuck in traffic, and you can't move. So that user may not be able to perform an action on the website or get the information you need from the page. Double-A would be more of a speed bump. And then triple A would be you're on the roads, there's no traffic at all, and you're perhaps even just alone driving, so it's a perfect scenario. Being in Ontario, you may have heard of the AOD legislation. It's a law that requires, of organizations that have 50 or more employees to reach level A compliance as of 2014, so that was already four years ago. The next milestone will be 2021 where we'll be required to reach double-A compliance. And so within each one of those different levels of conformance, there's many different types of issues, so it can get a little bit confusing sometimes when you start going into these reports and seeing, okay what can I do as an administrator for my website to improve the accessibility. So right now, looking at the full list of issues, which again can seem very overwhelming, a long list, I just went through level A right now, so I'm just starting double A and then triple A. So what we do within the platform to help you is create filters to even just segment the information based on what you may be able to fix yourself. So an example of that would be choosing a responsibility. We've got webmaster, developer, and editor. So editor would be the filter I want to go after because these are typically elements on a page that I may be able to fix myself by just being able to access your content management system. Over here we've got a list that's a little bit shorter, a tad bit shorter, so what you can also do here is then pick, let's say double A compliance, triple A again would be ideal, but you probably have some work to do already in level A and double A, so you could start with that. And then potentially you can also pick if you want to work off of headings for example, or you know that your forms are particularly bad, or links, so you can pick the priority issues as well. But this is the part I want to show you. We also have a severity classification or different filtering system. This one is not a W3C classification; it's more of a SiteImprove one, where we really wanna give you a little bit more information. Again, rather than starting through this whole list of level A issues, which can be daunting, you'll see we've got errors, warnings, and needs review. So an error within level A classification, for example, would be, well we've got an example right here, link text used for multiple different destination, which I'll show you in a moment what that means. An error would be an actual violation of that level A guideline, so those would be the ones you probably would want to go after initially or first. Warning would be more of a best practice violation. And then we have needs review, which would be an element that our crawler has identified as being potentially a problem and because it's not intelligent like a human being, at least until we have, not sure we'll have that one day, but with artificial intelligence, you never know. But these are really elements that again would require some essentially a bit of human interaction to determine whether yes or no it is an issue for the website. So an example of that would be, let's see here, is multimedia content captioned? So the captions at the bottom of let's say a video, for example, the crawler can't tell whether there is caption behind. It would just require to go through those 19 pages and say, "Yes it is," or, "No it's not." And if you determine for example that it is indeed captioned or all those videos that need to be captioned are, you can also here make a decision and ignore, I shouldn't use that word it's not ignore, it's rather making a decision on that issue, so saying for example, "I verified on this date "that all multimedia is captioned, "I am therefore classifying this as being done." It would then remove that issue from the list. And I'll let you in on a little secret. It increases your score, so don't get any ideas. It's similar to too, with broken links, you'll also see those issues under all decisions here. It's good actually that you, well it's encouraging to see that your score for accessibility is a little bit higher than the average, and you don't have any decisions made, and where that sometimes, of course sometimes I'll see very good scores out there only to find out that many issues, a lot of issues were ignored. It is helpful to be able to ignore or to make decisions on those issues, but just use it sparingly and use it in a way that makes sense. Again, so whether it's an issue that you verified is not applicable, or perhaps if you're working more with maybe the technical piece, if you've identified that a certain issue that's impacting the structure of the site from an accessibility standpoint is going to be updated or improved in a certain amount of time, you could also make a decision to say, "I'm removing this "from the list of issues temporarily until we're able "to launch a fix of this issue," for example. - [Man] There's a question online about decorative images that don't need ALT text, so maybe we're getting a little specific here, but how can we ignore those? - [Instructor] Right, yeah, that's a good one actually. So maybe we can use this as an example, 'cause I did see it in the list of needs review actually. So let's zoom in there, that's a needs review element. So the reason why it's being classified as needing review versus actually being a confirmed error is that the crawler has identified an issue, let's just remove this here, has identified that there is an image on the site of course, but it can't tell whether it should have an ALT tag or if it, again if it should just be removed or ignored. So if I click into this issue here, so I'm getting into the nitty gritty of the accessibility right now, so I click into the issue, because this is built for an non-accessibility experts, I mean even if you are an accessibility expert I think you'll appreciate some of this, there's always going to be a description of the issue as well as some tips on how to fix it, so very high level of course. For the concept of having an ALT tag or an ALT text for an image for web accessibility is somewhat something that we can understand fairly well in the sense that when we're looking at a webpage, we're able to see, for example right here, faculty and staff, so three individuals staring at a computer screen, we can see this. But for screen readers, they won't be able to identify if there is no ALT text, a little piece of code on the image that describes the image, there's no way for that person to be able to see, to understand what the content of that page is. And if you determine that this image is absolutely crucial or requires to be described in order for the user to get the full information of that content on the page, then you should be adding an ALT tag. So to answer the person's question online here, you can indeed for images, you can make what we call occurrence, or decisions on specific occurrences. So right now, looking at this very specific image on this very specific page, I click on decision options, and then I can say, "Can't fix," or "Approve," and you can use this depending on the situation, it could be in this case I would say probably approve and you could say, "This image is a decorative image, "doesn't require an ALT text." So just move it from there. Now if for some of you online, and even for you here in the room, if you notice that you can't see that decisions box or you don't see all the buttons that I have access to, it might also be related to your user rights. So if you're set as a user in the platform, you will be able to make decisions on pages but not on the entire site. So if you do require that admin function to be able to make decisions across your entire site, then feel free to contact the web team, and again from there, we can attribute appropriate permissions. And then similar to broken links, which I'm not sure if I went into details there, but for those of you that are a little more technical or may come across this issue, which is to not be able to see where the issue is on the page, meaning it's being highlighted here, but let's say there is no red surrounding frame here and it just maybe highlights the entire page instead. What you can do here is switch to HTML view to see exactly where that issue is in the code. So that might be helpful for issues that are not visible directly to the crawler itself, oh it's visible to crawler, just not visible to ourselves, and so we want to be able to switch into that HTML mode. So there is the image right here. So hopefully that answers your question. But actually it's a good time to head into another example of an issue that yourselves as contact intruders might be able to address, and again, not that you're all contributing, some of you may also have other access to the website through the back end, but again this is more of a quick wins, low-hanging fruit area. So I'm gonna select editor, and I'm going to go into, I'm gonna select all issues and I'm gonna pick double A. So the first one here is one that, it's pretty interesting as well, something that we may not think of when we're adding content to the web. So these are, the concept here being the link text that is exactly duplicate, so for example, a great example of that would be click here, or learn more, or read more, which tends to be found on a lot of websites out there. And in and of itself it's not necessarily an issue, but it should be more described. But what the issue can be here is that if you have multiple link texts that have the exact same phrasing, but they're going to different destinations, that's where the issue is. So we have a lot of different examples, some of them are false positives, you can go through them and just ignore them. But I did pick one that is indeed an error, and I think it's this one here. So I opened up one of the pages as a page report, so same concept as earlier, I just click on the page itself and it gives me the page report right here. And it's going to highlight what those instances are. So here we found more as the link text, and we found it twice. And when I click on it, it's gonna show me where it is. So it's more here, and it's more here. Now the issue here for a user using a screen reader, for example, is that when the screener runs over more and then more, they don't know whether they're going to, when they click on more, are they going to, well BRDC closed Easter Monday, more information on this, or are they going for more on the project update. That's not clear, so the best practice here when you're adding content through the web is to ensure that your link text is differentiated if it is going to different location. Now keep in mind that if it is going to the same location, a great example of that would be any one of these examples up here, then it's a non-issue, and you can ignore it, or you can make a decision for it. So here it's highlighting academics, it's high-linked president, I actually checked this before, and it's going to the same page, in which case it's a non-issue. And if you've determined that all of these linked texts are going to the same location, then at this point, you could say, "Can't fix," or it's not the right phrasing, but you can ignore for now, you just say, "Ignore across this page," or the entire website and then explain why. If I exit out of this little arrow here, and then I'm gonna be presented with all of the accessibility issues I found on the page itself. So if you're working pages by pages, you don't necessarily have to work off of the issues, you could work off of, again, pages rather. I could click in here and then select the issue that I want to look at. And that is pretty much it for web accessibility.

[Ends at 19:00.]

Who Siteimprove Helps

Webmasters at APS schools and departments use Siteimprove to ensure that their sites are free of errors and remediate issues that Siteimprove flags. 

Siteimprove helps webmasters ensure that the content posted on APS sites is accessible to our students, parents, staff, and the community. 

How Siteimprove Works

Siteimprove provides two methods of support for webmasters:

  1. Reports: Emailed to webmasters. Identifies and locates errors such as accessibility issues, broken links, and typos in web pages and PDFs.
  2. User Accounts: Enables users to log into Siteimprove to check for errors in real-time on pages and PDFs. Provides access to Siteimprove Academy and additional resources.