College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) web team is excited to unveil several improvements to the College’s external website featuring increased accessibility and implementation of an enhanced, AI-driven search tool. While these changes may not be noticeable to the average user, they are important to overall site functionality and the user experience.
CWI’s external website, cwi.edu, has undergone several accessibility improvements to ensure users have an equal opportunity to access and utilize the information provided on the site. The CWI web team has attended accessibility trainings, made site improvements, and added an accessibility focus to regular maintenance and future development processes while continuing to provide accessibility training to all web page contributors. CWI’s website accessibility score provided by Siteimprove has gone from 78 percent to 99.6 percent accessible as of December 2019.
Highlights of the upgrades include:
- Homepage updated with full-screen videos and images with a pause button, redesigned calendar section, and increased news coverage
- Headers and menus updated to provide better functionality to users who only use a keyboard to navigate with a skip to main content link and visible focus
- Image carousels rebuilt to manually advance allowing users to control movement of slides
- Tab and accordion content areas upgraded so content can be read with a screen reader and accessed using the tab and arrow keys on a keyboard
- Tables and iframes enhanced to include information to help users understand content
- Content Links, identifiable with a combination of text color and underlining, now use descriptive text to open a link in the same tab
- Buttons altered with a new design including hover and tab states that receive visible focus when using the tab key on a keyboard
- Images include alternative text descriptions to provide users with screen readers added information about content
- Headings on all pages reorganized to be meaningful and in descending order
- Flashing and Changing Text replaced with static text
AI-Driven Search Tool
The website’s AI-driven search tool has been enhanced with improved search capabilities including:
- Autocomplete to infer the search term and predicts the most relevant content
- Easy access to previous searches and the ability to save search results for later
- Related search terms by keyword and topic
- Suggestions for additional results
- Incorporation of CWI Academic Catalog results
- Searchable faculty, staff, and department information
- Filters allowing users to narrow search results by file type, date, and category
- Continuous learning – the tool will improve with use to deliver most desired results
If you have questions or want to learn more about site accessibility or the AI-driven search tool, contact College Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.