Have you ever used the ramps on sidewalk corners? These are an example of how a design to make something more accessible can be utilized to provide benefit for everyone. Accessibility became part of federal law with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and then the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Additional amendments were passed in 2008. Accommodations and universal design (design of products and environments to be used by all people without the need for adaption) are used to improve access to content.
10 Steps to Accessible Digital Content
- Use clear and consistent layouts, avoid background colors
- Use styles when creating materials (heading, bulleted list, etc.)
- Use descriptive language for links, no “click here” or long URLs
- Use concise alternative text to describe images and tables
- When using video, audio and image quality is clear and file size is reasonable
- Caption or transcribe video and audio, see Do-It-Yourself Captioning at UVA Library
- Use serif fonts in black on a white background, use consistent fonts throughout materials
- Avoid overuse of underlining words, CAPS, bold, italics, and animated or blinking graphics
- Read through the NCDAE cheatsheet for application(s) you use often
- Include the UVA Statement on Accessibility, UVA Accessibility website, and Report a Barrier on your syllabus and explain these resources to students.
UVA Statement on Accessibility
The University of Virginia values disability within the spectrum of human diversity and is committed to living, learning, and work environments where individuals with disabilities can be their full selves and thrive. The University recognizes that ensuring equal access to educational, employment, and all other opportunities is a shared responsibility that demands our continuous identification and removal of physical, technological, and attitudinal barriers.
- Accessibility Cheatsheets - one-page printouts for common applications such as PDF, Word, and PowerPoint from the National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE)
- Captioning YouTube Videos - one-page cheatsheet from NCDAE
- Web Accessibility Tutorials - simple, step-by-step guides to solving common accessibility problems in a number of document types from Michigan State
- Creating Accessible Content - resources and web accessibility handbook from Portland Community College
- Dos and don'ts on designing for accessibility - six posters showing the dos and don'ts of designing for users with accessibility needs
- ADA Compliance for Online Course Design - recommendations by Sheryl Burgstahler in EDUCAUSE Review article
- Working Together: Faculty and Students with Disabilities - non-technology-related reommendations for students with disabilities
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview - document explaining how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities from W3C
- WebAIM resources, including how to make a PDF document accessible
- UVA’s Corporate Accessibility Questionnaire for vendors
This information was compiled by Online Learning's Kristin Palmer and can be accessed in the below document.