Accessibility

The City of Minneapolis wants everyone to be able to access our web content. We keep the needs of people with disabilities and people who use assistive technology top of mind.

Request accessible format

If you need help with this information, please email 311, or call 311 or 612-673-3000.

Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Overview

Our job as City of Minneapolis content creators is to create a better website experience for all.

When we create and edit web content, we:

Disabilities

Cognitive

Cognitive disabilities are the most common type of disability.

They can arise as a result of:

  • Congenital conditions that a person is born with
  • Conditions that develop as we age
  • Traumatic brain injury, infection or chemical imbalances

Cognitive disabilities can impact people in a variety of ways:

IssueExamples
Limited comprehension Autism, Down syndrome
Low tolerance for information overload Anxiety disorder
Limited problem-solving and trouble with math Dyscalculia
Short- or long-term memory loss Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease
Difficulty focusing Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Difficulty reading Dyslexia
Inability to speak Brain damage
Seizures Photosensitivity, motion sensitivity

Motor or physical

Motor or physical disabilities include the temporary inability to use a body part due to injury or having little or no control of your limbs.

Motor disabilities can impact people in various ways:

IssueExamples
Tremors or limited or no body control Parkinson’s disease, paralysis, missing limb
Muscle weakness or atrophy Multiple sclerosis
Injury Broken, strained or sprained body part
Inability to speak Accident, birth defect

Hearing

Most web content is in a visual or text format, so people with hearing disabilities can access it.

When creating multimedia content, content creators need to consider alternatives such as:

  • Captions
  • Transcripts
  • Transcripts that include audio descriptions (for example, sounds such as applause and music)

Vision

Vision disabilities include impairments ranging from mild to full blindness.

These conditions might:

  • Affect people from birth
  • Develop over time
  • Be the result of an accident

People who experience vision impairment may use one or more assistive technologies, including:

  • Screen readers
  • Voice assistants
  • Magnification

Visual disabilities can impact people in a variety of ways:

IssueExamples
Inability to see at all Blindness
Inability to see small text or content that animates Low vision
Inability to see certain colors or distinguish between them Color blindness

Content accessibility guidelines

Alternative text

Always include alternative text descriptions and captions for images.

Descriptions and captions:

  • Serve as an image replacement for people who can't see an image
  • Help people who use assistive technology access web content
  • Help with search engine optimization

Audio and video

For audio and video content, include one or more of these alternatives:

  • Transcript
  • Captioning
  • Optional audio play

Also, give users the ability to pause, stop or hide motion and sound.

When we follow these guidelines, we:

  • Improve the user experience for people with visual, hearing or cognitive disabilities
  • Follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines with our multimedia

Content styles

When writing copy:

  • Break up text into shorter paragraphs instead of writing a big block of text.
  • Use headline styles to help readers understand how we've organized the content.
Headline styleExample
H1 page title

Accessibility

H2 heading

Content accessibility guidelines

H3 heading

Content styles

Embedded text

Avoid embedding text into a static image.

Embedded text can cause a variety of problems:

IssueDescription
People can't read the text. Color contrast between the text and the image can cause problems.
Assistive technologies can't read it. People who use assistive technologies can't access the content.
We don't meet accessibility requirements. Type resizing and wrapping cause problems.

If you must put text over an image

Save the text as a separate item over the image so accessibility devices can access it.

Expandable content

Expandable, or accordion, content is great for screen readers. It gives website visitors clear direction.

Headings

When creating a heading:

  • Keep the text clear, descriptive and as concise as possible. A page title should be 70 characters or less.
  • Write in sentence case.
  • Write short lines of copy rather than complete sentences.
  • Avoid punctuation.
  • Use just one H1 heading on each page, for the title.
  • Nest H2 and H3 headings in numerical order.

Images, maps and data visualization

GuidelineExplanation
Use images and icons that enhance the meaning of the content around it. Unneeded images can confuse website visitors. This is especially true for people who who have a cognitive disability.
Make content interactive where possible. Tableau and ArcGIS are two interactive tools.
Choose photographs that include many kinds of people.
  • Physical diversity: Not everyone looks the same or gets around on two legs. Show it.
  • Race and ethnicity: Minneapolis is the most diverse city in the state. Let’s show us off.
  • Location: Show neighborhoods, not just the city skyline or famous landmarks.
  • Actions: Show people doing things and interacting with each other.
Avoid using infographics.

Infographics are challenging for people with

  • Visual impairments
  • Cognitive disabilities that make complex designs hard to follow

If you must include an infographic, follow these guidelines:​

  • Design it using best accessibility practices for color contrast and use of color.
  • Paraphrase the content so people can find out what it's about.
  • Provide long alternative text or a transcript that conveys the content. Or use HTML/CSS so a screen reader can access the content.

Links

GuidelineExplanation
Make links easy to identify Make hyperlinked content easy to see. This helps people with who have color blindness or color contrast challenges. Also make sure that regular text doesn't look like a link.
Use clear wording for links

Use clear, strong terms when you write wording for a link. Website visitors want to know what will happen when they click a certain link.

  • Do: Sign up for our newsletter
  • Don't: Click here

When pointing a visitor to more information, use the wording "About [topic]."

  • Do: About rental license costs
  • Don't: Rental license costs
Put links below a paragraph Don't embed important links in paragraphs. This makes the click target smaller and harder to click or tap. Text wrapping can also be a problem on mobile devices.
Warn users before linking off site

Never link visitors off our site without warning, especially in the site navigation. Always link to a page to introduce the off-site content first.

For example, create a page to give a brief overview about utility billing and link from there.

Lists

When listing three or more items:

  • Use bullet points instead of a long sentence to make content easier to scan.
  • Use a numbered list to communicate step-by-step instructions.
  • Begin with the most important information and follow with supporting details. List the details in order of importance to the website visitor.

PDFs

Use a gateway page to preface a PDF or other document content. 

This gives site visitors:

  • A clear understanding of what the document contains before they open it.
  • The option to read the document summary instead of the full version.
  • A better user experience by getting rid of broken links to documents.

Syntax

Use either a hyphen (-) or a pipe (|) in page title tags to separate keywords and phrases. These characters increase usability by making the title more readable. Avoid using commas or underscores in title tags.

Contact us

Minneapolis 311

Hours

7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Monday – Friday