Defining Accessibility

Defining Accessibility

Whenever the word ‘accessibility’ is brought up, most think about those who are deaf or blind. However, accessibility compliance is much more comprehensive. Accessibility is the ability for everyone, regardless of special needs, to be able to access, use, and benefit from everything within their environment. You might have students in your courses who have a limited range of motion, cannot use a mouse, have a slow internet connection, have a cognitive deficiency, or are even color blind. When designing a course, the abilities and resources of all individuals must be considered.


Original Content

Content derived from third party sources does not often meet the standards set forth by the American Disability Association. Using original content will give you more control and allow you to ensure the same experience to all of your students. When designing and creating original content, consult your Instructional Designer for advice on the best practices to ensure ADA compliance.


Accessible Images

Are there a lot of images in your course? Do they contribute to the learning experience, or are they mainly decorative? Images should not be used as the primary method for delivering content. If viewing an image is critical to understand a concept, be sure to add a textual equivalent so that students with visual impairments are able to understand the content. Also, if you use decorative images in your course, be sure to include “decorative” in the “alt-text” (contact your Instructional Designer for assistance with this).


Font Style

Aesthetic preferences concerning font, color, and sizing might cause some interference for students with visual impairments, making it particularly difficult for them to see and discern content. By avoiding using certain font colors and sizes, users with vision impairments can specify the text and background settings on their web browsers or operating systems.