D.U.H.: Diverse, Understandable, Human – A Checklist

Accessibility Guidelines

Learn WCAG 2.0 – POUR

If you follow these guidelines, your content will be more inclusive.

Get the DUH Checklist (PDF, 104Kb).


  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
  • Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways,
  • including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content.


  • Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Give users enough time to read and use content.
  • Do not use content that causes seizures.
  • Help users navigate and find content.


  • Make text readable and understandable.
  • Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes.


  • Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.

Credit: http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/glance/

Web Standards

  • Use the right DOCTYPE!
  • Web pages validate
  • No frames
  • Minimal layout tables

Cascading Style Sheets

  • No manual font or paragraph formatting
  • Full use of inheritance

Relative Text Size

  • No points or pixels
  • Assign font size to <body>, override as necessary (typically only headings and special styles)

“Skip” Links

  • “Skip to Main Content” link

Device Independence

  • Use OnFocus, OnBlur, etc.
  • “Mouseover” menus are almost never accessible


  • Use alt text as necessary
  • Learn the rules

Podcasts / Videos

  • Captions, transcripts, audio descriptions
  • Sign language videos are a special case

Clear, Consistent Design

  • Don’t change the design for every page
  • Consistency matters

Table Coding

  • Use table-appropriate tags: <caption>, <summary>, <th>
  • Use th and scope or id:
    • <th scope=”row”>Row Header</th>
    • <td>data cell</td>
    • <th id=”r2″>Row Header</th>
    • <td headers=”r2″>data cell</td>

Hypertext Links

  • Descriptive link text
  • Use primary and secondary indicators

Color Contrast

  • Contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for AA, at least 7:1 for AAA

Associative Form Information

  • Use Label element for form prompts:
    • <label for=”fname”>First Name:</label>
    • <input type=”text” ID=”fname” name=”fname”>

General Writing Rules

You might already follow most of these. Did you know that you were also making your documents more inclusive?

Headings / Structure

  • Use consecutively numbered headings.

Active Voice, Present Tense, Second Person

  • Avoid passive voice; people need to know where the action is
  • Avoid third person


  • “Consumable” chunks
  • Short sentences (fewer than 20 words)
  • Short paragraphs (one to three sentences)

Reading Level

  • Must know your audience!

“Interchangeables” (confusing words)

  • Avoid (always)


  • Numbered lists for tasks
  • Bulleted lists for non-consecutive items

Acronyms / Abbreviations

  • Spell out first use

“Best” Words

  • Don’t “write to impress”; write to be easily understood

Cultural and Global References

No one has an entire audience of fluent English readers from the United States. Following these guidelines means that more people are able to easily understand the content, and no one is insulted or left out.


  • Format appropriately for the parent country
  • Be sure to allow for both postal and ZIP codes
  • Some countries use 5-digit postal codes


  • Identify the country along with the symbol


  • Don’t just use the names of seasons (spring, summer, fall or autumn, winter); all countries have seasons, just not at the same time


  • If using the 12-hour clock, identify “am” or “pm”


  • Use ISO or modified ISO to prevent confusion
  • Don’t use only numeric dates

Phone Numbers

  • Format correctly; some countries use spaces, not dashes
  • Some people use periods as delineators; be consistent

Latin Abbreviations

  • Try to avoid whenever possible


  • Try to avoid whenever possible

Creative Commons License
D.U.H.: Diverse, Understandable, Human – A Checklist by JTF Associates, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at jtfassociates.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *