Accessibility Tools and Resources: Getting Started with Accessibility
This resource guide identifies high-quality, useful resources that address various aspects of accessibility: developing an accessibility statement, conducting an accessibility audit, acquiring accessible technology, and building professional development resources on accessibility for school staff and others.
Digital accessibility is an important issue that needs to be front and center for educators across the country. However, implementing a comprehensive accessibility initiative throughout an entire agency or institution can seem like an overwhelming task. Fortunately, there are actions you can take in the short term (even today!) to help get you started.
The Center on Technology and Disability has identified a number of high-quality, useful resources to address issues of accessibility in several key areas: developing an accessibility statement, conducting an accessibility audit, procuring accessible technology, and building professional development and training resources on accessibility for your staff.
Developing an accessibility statement
No matter where your organization stands regarding progress toward improving digital accessibility, an accessibility statement is critical to success. Your statement informs your users that (1) accessibility is a priority; (2) steps have been, or are being, taken to address accessibility; and (3) specific contacts are available to provide assistance and are open to receive feedback.
This example statement demonstrates how an organization can address accessibility, continuously assess its own website, decide which accessibility standards are relevant, and provide solutions to users who are trying to access specific documents. See Disability.gov accessibility statement >
The language on this page is simple and easy to understand. It provides clear guidance on which assistive technology tools are compatible with the gov.UK site, explains how to obtain alternate versions of materials, and allows users to provide feedback to the Web team. See Gov.UK accessibility statement >
This simple tool generates a basic accessibility statement based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). Users enter information about their website and complete an accessibility checklist; then the site generates a basic accessibility statement that can be posted to your organization’s website. See accessibility statement generator >
Developing accessibility plans and policies
This guide helps you develop a policy for creating, managing, and delivering accessible websites. See guide >
This resource from the Ontario Government provides a step-by-step process for creating accessibility plans and policies for organizations. See resource >
Conducting an accessibility audit
Although the ideal accessibility audit includes actual users to evaluate the accessibility of your resources, in conjunction with the use of accessibility tracking software, a number of excellent, free resources are available that can help you identify high-priority items, gaps in your accessibility efforts, and related issues.
This blog post from Adobe describes several simple ways to audit the accessibility of your website. See accessibility audit tips from Adobe >
This customizable, quick reference on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 outlines requirements and techniques for developers and technology staff. How to meet WCAG 2.0 >
This document was created by the EDUCAUSE IT Accessibility Constituent Group to help identify accessibility risks that IT leaders should consider in their risk management process. See accessibility risk statements >
This simple checklist offers recommendations for meeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 guidelines. See WCAG 2.0 checklist >
This free tool allows users to see how colors and color combinations appear to someone with visual impairments. Choose color combinations at the site to determine whether the colors promote accessibility. See accessibility color wheel >
Plug any uniform resource locator (URL) into the accessibility checker, and you will see a list of accessibility issues plus suggestions on how to fix noncompliant website components. See web accessibility checker >
Procuring accessible technology
When purchasing technology, it’s imperative to work with contractors and vendors to determine whether their products or devices are accessible. When working with vendors, it is recommended that you use an accessibility template and ensure that all contracts include language on the accessibility of the items under consideration.See guidance for purchasing agents >
This guide offers purchasing language for print and digital materials. It also includes information on how to address accessibility issues with materials and open educational resources developed by teachers and other local and national sources. See purchasing language examples >
This document outlines the steps necessary to ensure that accessible learning materials are secured from the beginning of the acquisition process. This guide includes sample contract language that can, and should, be added to any contracts you sign moving forward. See purchasers guide >
This Web page presents an overview of criteria for prioritizing decision making related to accessibility and purchasing of technology tools, resources, and materials. See accessible purchasing overview >
This quick reference guide outlines considerations for purchasing accessible materials as well as action steps that districts can take to ensure that purchased materials are accessible. See AIM guide >
Building professional development and training resources for your staff
A critical component of accessibility is securing buy-in from all of your stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, and other staff in your school, district, or institution. Get started by offering training and support to inform your team about the legal mandates for providing accessible digital content, resources, and devices to meet the needs of all students.
This brief video provides a synopsis of accessibility features to consider when developing digital learning materials and an excellent introduction for those who are unfamiliar with accessibility issues. Watch video >
This short, introductory animated video presents 15 tips to help make your technology usable and inclusive. It also provides information on why digital inclusion is an important educational issue. Watch video >
Section 508 Compliancy and Microsoft Word/PowerPoint
These quick tutorial videos show how to make Word and PowerPoint documents compliant with the laws related to accessibility. This information is especially important for teachers and others who are developing their own learning materials.
This webinar from the Ohio State University Web Accessibility Center presents an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to Do It Yourself (DIY) captioning, an essential accessibility feature for video content. See webinar on captioning >
The Long Road from Reactive to Proactive: Developing an Accessibility Strategy
This webinar discusses tools for moving your accessibility processes from reactive to proactive. Although the video content is geared toward higher education, it can be applied to all levels of the education system. See webinar on accessibility strategy >