Accessibility at UIW
UIW’s has made a commitment to equal access of digital content, in accordance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title III. Section 508 states that electronic and information technology – including websites, web applications, software, and digital documents – is accessible to everyone.
This statement includes e-learning.
About this Site
This site serves as UIW’s hub for information about accessible technology. Accessible technology includes electronic documents, websites, videos, software applications, and hardware devices that can be used effectively by everyone, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors with disabilities. The UIW community is collectively responsible for assuring the technologies we choose, use, and create are fully accessible.
Digital Accessibility is Equity
Digital accessibility is a process for making digital content accessible to everyone.
In keeping with the UIW Mission statement of striving for inclusion amongst a student body of diverse backgrounds, and abilities, all digital assets should/will be revised and created in accordance with the guidelines developed by the world Wide Web Consortium (W3C) an international community of experts who work on standards for the web.
The purpose of WCAG is to provide a single, shared standard for web accessibility that can be used by governments, businesses, and organizations around the world to make their websites and web-based applications more accessible to people with disabilities. WCAG provides a set of clear and specific guidelines that outline how to make web content more accessible, as well as a set of success criteria that can be used to evaluate the accessibility of web content.
The Four Principles of Accessibility
There are four principles of accessibility that lay the foundation for anyone to access and use web content. The four principles were defined by WCAG as guidelines for making digital content more accessible, as well as a list of success criteria for evaluating accessibility. These criteria are referred to by the acronym "POUR."
Users must be able to perceive the information being presented. It can't be invisible to all of their senses.
How this is achieved
- Add alt text to images and visuals
- Include clear and concise alternative "alt" text attributes for all relevant images and graphics appearing on your site.
- Close caption videos and provide transcripts for audio
- Caption all video. YouTube has very useful built in captioning tools.
- Provide sufficient color contrast between text and backgrounds
- Ensure you provide sufficient color contrast for text. WCAG 2.0 (Level AA) requires a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for regular text and 3:1 for large text (18pt or 24px) or bold, larger text (14pt or 18.5px).
- Ensure you provide sufficient color contrast for graphics. WCAG 2.0 (Level AA) requires a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 for graphics.
- Use tools such as WebAIM's free contrast checker to ensure your content is compliant.
Users must be able to operate the interface and navigation. The interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform.
How this is achieved
- Provide clear structure with properly marked headings
- Make sure you using H-tags to properly organize the content of your pages.
- See the Editing Standards and Guidelines page for instructions and examples.
- Create descriptive links that make sense out of context
- Use concise, descriptive text in links. You should be able to understand what content you will see when you click on the link by only reading the link itself, without reading any surrounding copy. Avoid using "Click Here" or "Read More".
Users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface. The content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding.
How this is achieved
- Clarify expectations through clear directions and models
- Follow conventions to ensure a predictable and consistent experience
- Use standard naming conventions in pages and features
- Use plain language
Users must be able to access the content as technologies advance. As technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible.
How this is achieved
Your digital content in Canvas may not be accessible. While Canvas has a native accessibility too, UIW has chosen to license Anthology’s tool called Ally. You will use Ally to check your course content and documents for upgrading previous documents and course content, and for creating new ones. Ally uses color coded visual cues to indicate how closely your content meets accessibility standards. The visual cues are not at all visible to students.
Your students will see the clickable Ally symbol throughout your course. When clicked, your students will be able to choose a downloadable alternate format for your content including an audio version, translated file, electronic publication and a variety of other file types that are compatible with assistive devices. All students can benefit from alternative formats of digital content.
Where is Ally?
Ally is present in Canvas and has been enabled for all courses beginning with Spring 2023. All past and present courses have been analyzed by Ally, but Ally may not be enabled in them. You may request to have Ally enabled in your pre-Spring '23 courses by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your course IDs.
- Download the Ally Adoption Toolkit to learn Ally basics and features.
W3C- World Wide Web Consortium
World Wide Web Consortium, an international community that works together to develop web standards
WCAG- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
The international standard set by the W3C for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments.
ADA- Americans with Disability Act
The Americans with Disability Act prohibits discrimination based on disability.
Section 508- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires federal agencies (including higher education institutions that receive federal funding) to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.
Section 504- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits federal agencies (including higher education institutions that receive federal funding), programs, or activities from discriminating and requires reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals with disabilities.
VPAT- Voluntary Product Accessibility Template
A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template is a document which evaluates how accessible a particular product is according to the Section 508 standards.
This abbreviation for accessibility uses the number 11 in reference to the number of letters omitted between the A and the Y.
AT- Assistive technology
Assistive technology is the products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for persons with disabilities.
UD- Universal Design
Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability, or disability.
Disability should not be measured in absolutes. And understanding that goes a long way in understanding why accessibility matters.
Disability lies along a spectrum. This spectrum doesn't just include the severity of a permanent disability, but accounts for less permanent disabilities as well.
Situational: You are holding a child in one arm so you are limited to interacting with one hand until you put the child down, or you are in a loud environment at a restaurant and can't hear the sound from your phone so you need closed captioning to be able to understand the content of a video
Temporary: You have a broken arm so you are limited to interacting with one arm until the fracture heals or you have just had cataract surgery and can't view a screen clearly until you have fully recovered
Permanent: You are a person who is color blind or blind or you are a person who is hard of hearing or deaf
And just because you may not have a disability doesn't mean you don't benefit from accessibility.
Some words sound very similar when spoken aloud but can have the opposite meaning. If you are watching a video and someone says you can do something but you hear you can't do something (or vice versa) that can have serious implications on your conduct. In a case like that, having closed captioning helps clear up any misunderstanding regardless of disability.
By ensuring you meet accessibility guidelines for the most severe, permanent disabilities, you are also ensuring accessibility for everyone.