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Digital Accessibility Policy

Effective Sept. 1, 2021, there is a university-wide Digital Accessibility Policy in place. This policy will require your action in relation to your digital content (websites, videos and podcasts, Canvas content). New content (new as of Sept. 1) must be Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliant. Digital content owners at the unit-level are responsible for their sites’ accessibility.

About Accessibility

Accessibility is about removing barriers to understanding for all individuals. Digital accessibility means that digital content, platforms or systems can be used by all, including people with disabilities.

Accessible content must be:

  • Perceivable: Web content is made available to the senses
  • Operable: Interface forms, controls and navigation are operable
  • Understandable: Information and the operation of the user interface must be understandable
  • Robust: Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies

Types of disabilities for which are assessing our content:

  • Visual - Example: blindness, low-vision, color blind
  • Hearing - Example: deaf and hard of hearing
  • Motor - Example: not having the use of certain limbs and paralysis
  • Speech - Example: people who are not able to speak or who have a speech impediment
  • Cognitive - Example: dyslexia, autism, ADHD

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Where to Start

Plan your web content with the following considerations:

  • Web pages
    • Use structure (headings used sparingly and in sequential order, bullets)
    • Don’t depend on color to convey meaning; use the Feinberg template’s existing styles to address call outs
  • Documents: When you need to link to documents on your web pages,
    • Use content hierarchy by way of headings (in order) and bullets
    • Consider that PDF documents might be the more accessible option; not all users have MS Word or the same version you are using
    • When converting a document from Word to PDF, do not use the “Print to PDF” command – this will produce an image of your content that screen readers cannot access; instead, use the “Save to PDF” or “Export to PDF” command
  • Links: Use contextual links, not URLs or vague linked text
  • Images
    • Keep them sized right for the space to cut download time
    • Include short, specific alternative (alt) text
      • Good: Pancakes
      • Better: Blueberry pancakes with powdered sugar and syrup
    • Audio (Podcasts): Include transcripts
    • Video: Include captions and transcripts, if possible

Automated Assistance

The Feinberg template already addresses accessibility issues related to contrast and keyboard compatibility. There are tools available to assist you with checking the rest of your content for accessibility.

  • Siteimprove: Go to the “Accessibility” section and sort the issues by “Editor.” Web communications recommends you focus on individual issues. Common issues are:
    • Alt text
    • Link text too generic or used in multiple locations
    • Headings not nested properly
  • Microsoft Accessibility Checker: MS Word or PowerPoint are great applications in which to develop documents, as they allow you to create the logical structures (headings and other styling) necessary for accessibility. For web content, however, we recommend you convert the file to a PDF and upload the PDF to your site (see the Where to Start section).

Learn More

Go to the university’s digital accessibility content for more information. Feinberg Communications also recommends the following primers on accessibility training: