Identity Guide


The University of Michigan-Dearborn website already meets level 1 federal accessibility standards. Functions are in place within the content management system to make sure your pages meet these standards. However, meeting these level 1 standards is the bare minimum required by federal statutes.

UM-Dearborn will continue to try to meet and exceed higher levels of accessibility standards.

The following should always be taken into consideration when creating and updating content:

Screen Readers
A screen reader is a software application that attempts to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen. This is then presented to a blind user as speech (by text-to-speech) or by driving a Braille display. Screen readers are used by people with little or no functional vision: people with some vision often use screen magnifiers.1

Alt Tags
The use of meaningful alt text is necessary to comply with accessibility standards and is good practice. Alt tags are used for accessibility readers and are a good place to include keywords for search optimization. Alt tags are the little information boxes that popup when you hover over images and areas. They tell screen readers what is in the location for the visually impaired.  Sometimes an image is used for purely decorative purposes. In this case, one should use an empty alt attribute (alt=" ").

Alternative text is especially useful in the following situations:

  • For people with disabilities who use assistive technology, such as refreshable Braille displays or screen readers
  • Search engine optimization--Many search engines can only interpret the meaning of objects by analyzing their  alt attribute
  • For people with low bandwidth connections, who may opt not to load graphics
  • For people using handheld devices
  • Donít just list keywords; Be sure to describe the function of the image.  Keep your Alt tags as short as possible.


Please note: The "alt" attribute is commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as an image's "alt tag". It is not intended to provide "pop up" text or tooltips when a user's mouse hovers over the image.

See the Search Engine Optimization section to learn how alt tags can help optimize your pages for search.

Use headings for headlines only. A heading is used to provide hierarchical information about other information. Headings can emphasize or tell people and screen readers what information is where, such as a title or subtitle or topic at the top or beginning of a paragraph or letter or chapter. Using heading inappropriately can confuse screen readers.

Text Only Browsers
UM-Dearbornís Web site is readable in text only browsers.