Accessibility resources

An icon of a person in a wheel chairAccessibility is the practice of making digital content accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.

In practice, this means using specific techniques when we create documents, videos and all other digital content in order to remove barriers and allow people with disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate and interact with the content.

Who is responsible for accessibility?

Accessibility is a shared concern for anyone who helps create, share and publish digital resources. Digital resources on the district website, campus websites and the intranet need to be accessible. Additionally, staff who communicate with parents and students through a website, blog or other online communication tool need to create accessible content.

Why should I care about accessibility?

It’s the law

Accessibility is a legal requirement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and we are required by law to ensure our digital content is accessible for students, staff and the public.

It’s the right thing to do

We celebrate our diverse community and want to ensure that our digital content can be used by all members who have a range of hearing, movement, sight or cognitive abilities.

Keep in mind, while accessibility is necessary for some groups to use the web, it is beneficial for everyone. Explore the impact and benefits for everyone in Web Accessibility Perspectives, a compilation of videos.

How can I improve my digital content?

Many of the steps we can take to improve accessibility are simple. Do the following and you're off to a great start:

  • Ensure proper color contrast between text and the background
  • Provide text descriptions of images
  • Use headings to organize content
  • Create documents using official styles
  • Use meaningful text for links rather than "click here" or "more."
  • Evaluate the accessibility of third-party products you want to procure
  • Add captions to videos

For specific details regarding expectations and guidelines, see the Accessibility standards section below. For more techniques used to create accessible digital content, see the Tools and techniques section.

Accessibility standards

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

These guidelines pertain to general content added to web pages such as text, images, documents, videos, etc.  We are required to meet both Level A and Level AA.

Web Accessibility Initiative-Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.0

WAI-ARIA defines a way to make web applications more accessible, especially dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies. 

Tools and techniques

See below for documentation and resources to help make different types of digital content more accessible. Additional resources will be added as they become available.

Essential techniques

Resources

Images

Images are made unaccessible when they include text that communicates necessary information. Screen readers cannot analyze an image for text, so any text within an image is automatically not viewable to some users. Content creators should avoid using images of text or images that contain only text.  Additionally, all images need to have alt text (alternative text) which provides a text description of an image. This description can be read aloud by screen readers so that those with visual or certain cognitive disabilities can understand the content and function of the image.

Documents

Documents must also be accessible. Typically, steps must be taken in Microsoft Word, or other source software, in order to create an accessible document. This means using style elements to format your document, adding a title to the document properties, providing alternate text for images, using tables properly and more. This is all before the document ever gets converted to a PDF.

Forms

Google Forms can be used to create quizzes, surveys, quick opinion polls and forms.  We recommend using Google Forms whenever possible. Both the authoring experience and the resulting form created via Google Forms are accessible and easier to use than a PDF/Word form. 

Video

Videos must also be accessible. Transcripts and captions are required so that people that are deaf or hard of hearing can access the content of your video. Audio description is required for any videos that have important action or visuals occurring that someone who is blind or has poor vision would need to hear in order to have an equal experience.

Web accessibility evaluation tool

WAVE is a tool that you may use to check web pages for accessibility issues. It also offers extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers.