WAVE Errors and Alerts Guide
This is a glossary of common errors and alerts from WAVE and Pope Tech reports. This guide is intended to supplement WAVE documentation and aid TXST faculty and staff in improving website accessibility in Gato CMS. If you are looking for assistance with how to view a WAVE report, review our WAVE User Guide.
Keep in mind the different issue types as you evaluate your website:
- Errors – critical issues that need to be addressed first. These errors indicate that a screen reader will have significant difficulty with some of your content.
- Alerts – errors that cannot be classified as critical but can cause frustration for users of assistive technology. Manual testing is usually required to verify these alerts.
- Contrast – errors that affect persons with low-vision impairments or those who are color blind.
If you have an issue that is not covered by either the WAVE documentation or this guide, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All Types
Gato Template or Content Type
Contrast issues occur when content color does not sufficiently contrast with background color. All TXST sites should maintain a contrast of at least 4.5:1 for regular text and 3:1 for large text. Contrast issues can be an error or an alert depending on severity.
To resolve, increase contrast by darkening or lightening text or background colors, as appropriate.
WAVE may report contrast issues that relate to Gato content types. Contrast issues caused by a Gato content type are not required to be fixed. If you are not sure if a contrast issue is related to Gato, please contact us.
- Document language missing
This error occurs when no language is specified for a webpage in the HTML source code. In Gato, this error occurs when a site no longer has the default Gato 404 page.
To resolve, you will need to recreate the 404 page for your Gato website:
- In Gato, choose to [Add page] while the home page for your site is selected.
- Make the Page name "404"
- The page title can be anything. The default is "404 Page Not Found"
- The page content can be anything, but something similar to "Unfortunately, the page you're looking for doesn't seem to exist." is recommended.
- Link to [Document Type]
All links to Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint documents, PDFs, and any other non-HTML document will generate an alert. These documents should be reviewed for accessibility according to our document accessibility guidelines.
We strongly recommend, whenever possible, to avoid linking to documents and instead add the document content directly to a webpage in your website.
The alert will remain on your website unless the link to the document is removed. This alert does not need to be resolved if the documents are determined to be accessible.
- Missing alternative text
This error occurs when an image is identified as having no alt text. Alt text is what a screen reader uses to describe a picture. All non-decorative images must have meaningful alt text. All decorative images must have a null alt text tag. Null is represented with two double quotes ( "" )
To resolve, add alt text to the image.
Very few images are purely decorative. For example, a stock image of two students chatting near a tree on a student organization's website is not decorative, because it provides information about how that organization chooses to represent itself.
An example of a decorative image is an image of a horizontal swirl used as a table border.
- Redundant link text
Redundant links are adjacent links that link to the same location. These cause clutter for users of assistive technologies.
To resolve, remove one of the redundant links or combine them.
WAVE may report redundant links that relate to the Gato template. Alerts that are identified as being caused by a Gato template may be ignored. If you are not sure if an issue is related to a template, please contact us.
- Suspicious alternative text
Suspicious alt text is alt text for an image that has been automatically flagged as likely to be low quality. It includes alt text with redundant information, such as "image of...", and alt text that appears to be a filename.
To resolve the issue, reword the alt text according to best practices.
Review our Images and Alt Text User Guide for more information on alt text.
- Suspicious link text
Links should make sense out of context. Links with suspicious key phases, such as "click here" are automatically identified for review by WAVE.
To resolve this issue, make sure that the link can stand alone without context.
Good link text: "View our Accessibility User Guides for more information"
Bad link text: "To view our Accessibility User Guides, click here."
- Very small text
Text that is very small may be difficult to read. Text smaller than 10 pixels will be flagged. In some cases, this results from a document being pasted into a rich editor without any additional formatting to ensure stylistic consistency. Please use the rich editor to remove imported styles from your webpage.
WAVE may report small text issues that relate to the Gato template. Alerts that are identified as being caused by a Gato template may be ignored. If you are not sure if an issue is related to a template, please contact us.