University of the Incarnate Word is required by law and compelled by our mission to provide programs and services that are accessible to all qualified participants, including those with disabilities. But what does that mean for you? What do you need to know?
Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, program, service, resource, or environment is available to a given user. If a building on campus has a wheelchair ramp leading to its main entrance, that entrance is accessible to wheelchair users. If a lecture includes sign language interpreters, that lecture is accessible to attendees who are deaf or hard of hearing and who understand sign language.
Accessible technology is technology that has been designed in a way so that it can be accessed by all users. This includes electronic documents, websites, software, hardware, video, audio, and other technologies. People who interact with technology are extremely diverse. They have a wide variety of characteristics, and we cannot assume that they’re all using a traditional monitor for output, or keyboard and mouse for input. Consider these users:
Accessible technology works for all of these users, and countless others not mentioned.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) summarizes web accessibility nicely in their Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG). WCAG 2.0 is organized into the following four key concepts:
Although written specifically for web content, these principles apply to other technologies as well. There are many possible approaches to attaining accessibility as defined by these four concepts.