A blog from the Southern Ontario Library Service

POUR Principles

Over the last couple of weeks I have been reading various resources, and familiarizing myself with the WCAG 2.0 guidelines for web accessibility. For a complete list of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines and the different compliance levels you can visit the W3C’s website. Here I would like to take the opportunity to highlight some of the key characteristics I have learned, that can be neatly summarized into the Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust (POUR) principles, and which may prove useful when evaluating accessibility compliance with your library’s website.

Perceivable: Is the content of your website perceivable in multiple ways, through sight, hearing and touch? Some things to consider include ensuring that all images used on your site have an accurate and equivalent text description, and that all video and audio clips have captions, where the video also includes an audio description.

Operable: Can the content of your website be navigated through various input methods, such as keyboard navigation, or voice recognition software? Some things to consider include dividing the website page into clear sections with headings that can be skipped to, or providing users with a skip navigation option which would allow them to skip routine navigational links and get to the unique content of that page.

Understandable: Is the content of you website understandable by all users? Some things to consider include using language appropriate for the content of your website, avoiding technical jargon and abbreviations, and having it all presented in an adequate text size.

Robust: Can users choose their own technologies to access the content on your site? Does your site content work across different operating systems, platforms and mobile devices?

The POUR principles, an easy acronym to keep in mind the next time you are evaluating the accessibility of a website.