» Accessibility

What is Accessibility?

Accessibility involves two key aspects: how those with disabilities access electronic information and how those documents and web pages are created so they can function within the assistive devices used by those with disabilities.

According to a recent Census, nearly 20% of the population has some form of a disability. They can be grouped into the four broad categories below. Some are permanent while others are temporary, such as recovering after a surgery or a broken limb.

Braille page

Visual

Issues may include blindness, low vision, and/or color-blindness. Blind users may use screen reader software to read a page or document out loud (JAWS, NVDA, etc.). Those with low vision may use a screen magnifier.
students using wheelchairs

Motor

Issues may include inability to use a mouse, slow response time, and/or limited fine motor control. Those with limited hand control may have to rely only on their keyboard – no mouse. Others may use assistive technologies like touchscreens, head pointers, mouth sticks, etc.
Students using ASL to communicate

Hearing

Issues include deafness or hard-of-hearing. Close Captioning on videos or transcripts will allow those with full or partial hearing loss watch videos. Also useful for those with normal hearing to enjoy a video in a noisy or in a very quiet environment.
Brain map

Cognitive

Issues may include learning disabilities, distractibility, inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information, as well as many others. Good semantic structure including proper heading structure, tables, and lists in web pages and documents can go a long way to help. Some with cognitive issues may use a screen reader to assist them.