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About Digital Accessibility

What is digital accessibility?

Digital accessibility is utilizing technology and design in a way that websites, LMS courses, emails, digital documents, videos, and other items can be accessed by all users.

Whom does digital accessibility affect?

Digital accessibility affects everyone. It should not be assumed that digital accessibility is only for users with a disability. There are a wide variety of users; consider these possible users:

  • Most individuals who are blind use either audible output (products called screen readers that read web content using synthesized speech) or tactile output (such as a refreshable Braille device).
  • Individuals with learning disabilities such as dyslexia may also use audible output. These programs are often referred to as Text-to-Speech or TTS.
  • Individuals with low vision may use screen magnification software that allows them to zoom into a portion of the visual screen, as well as Text-to-Speech programs.
  • Many others with less-than-perfect vision may enlarge the font on websites using standard browser functions, such as Ctrl + in Windows or Command + in Mac OS X.
  • Individuals with fine motor conditions may be unable to use a mouse, and instead rely exclusively on keyboard commands, or use assistive technologies such as speech recognition, head pointers, mouth sticks or eye-gaze tracking systems.
  • Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing are unable to access audio content and instead utilize video captions and transcripts of audio.
  • Individuals may use mobile devices including phones, tablets, or other devices, which optimize with various screen sizes, use of gestures and other interfaces for content.

What are the standards for digital accessibility?

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), an international standard that documents how to make content more accessible.

WCAG is organized into four principles:

  • Perceivable
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Robust