Having a computer and internet access does not automatically make the content viewed via the computer and internet accessible to everyone. It’s important that educators understand how people with various different disabilities interact with their content, and that they know how to design their content so that it is accessible to all.

This blog post will provide resources to help educators learn how to ensure the content that they create for students is accessible to all.

Start here

The resources in this section provide a comprehensive overview of what you need to know in order to create accessible content, and are a great place to start if digital accessibility is new to you.

  • World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (website): The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) develops standards and support materials to help you understand and implement accessibility. The site provides an introduction to accessibility and basic accessibility principles, and provides personal stories from persons with disabilities.
  • Web content accessibility guidelines (website): The web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) outline a shared standard for web accessibility and explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. The guidelines present both the principles of accessibility and techniques for accomplishing accessibility.
  • Understanding the four principles of accessibility (website): This resource by WebAIM provides an introduction to the four principles of web accessibility: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust (POUR). Understanding these principles before diving into techniques can help an educator see the bigger picture.
  • An Introduction to Accessibility and Inclusive Design (online course): This free, self-paced online course introduces some of the fundamental principles of accessibility, the major types of disabilities and assistive technologies, and the major principles that guide universal design and accessible content creation.
  • Basics of Inclusive Design for Online Education (online course): This free, self-paced online course provides strategies to support educators in developing a course that is inclusive to students with a wide range of abilities, including students with disabilities.

Documents and websites

Creating documents and uploading content to websites are common ways of disseminating information. Content in both these areas can easily be accessible to all via assistive technology, but only if the documents and websites have been set up correctly.

Videos

The popularity of video on the internet has grown exponentially over the last decade, and it’s important to ensure that the move to video is not leaving certain communities behind.

Social media

Social media platforms have not always been created with accessibility in mind, but in recent years, the major tech companies, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, have been adding accessibility features to their platforms. Understanding the concepts behind creating accessible social media posts and knowing how to use the features of the platform is important.

Accessibility features in common tools and programs

Most common authoring tools, such as Microsoft Office and Google Drive, have features built in that make it easy to create accessible documents. However, you need to know they exist in order to use them!

People to follow

Incorporate learning about accessibility and content creation into your everyday routine.

  • Ioanna Talasli on Twitter (@Ioanna Talasli): Web, document and VR inclusion advocate who shares resources on accessibility and inclusion
  • Accessibility Librarian on Twitter (@A11yLibrarian): An academic librarian who has an interest in accessibility.
  • Erika Boltz on Twitter (@efboltz): Works to make higher ed and the world a little more inclusive, and often shares tips for web and social media accessibility
  • #a11y: A popular hashtag for tweets related to accessibility

Featured Image by Joanna Lake