Whether its vague hyperlinks in emails, images lacking descriptive text, or websites with poor color contrast between text and background, potential hurdles abound for people with disabilities that affect their ability to access digital content.
A new digital accessibility website aims to educate the Washington State University community on how to make everything from emails to PowerPoint presentations approachable for all.
“This project originated with looking at how we could better support everyone who needs to be considering digital accessibility as a concept and moving beyond just the idea of web accessibility,” said Lesa McPeak, web services manager for University Marketing and Communications.
It’s just as critical that emails, PDFs, and digital presentations are accessible for people with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive disabilities as websites. While some accessibility measures improve the experience for individuals using assistive tools like screen readers, others, like including closed captions on videos, benefit those with disabilities as well as people temporarily working in especially loud or quiet environments, McPeak added.
Assessments, guides and trainings
Along with the new website comes an updated yearly digital accessibility assessment, which is required for everyone at the university who creates and publishes digital content. This assessment was created in the midst of revisions to Executive Policy 07: Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Policy. The assessment is included in the procedures of the Ensuring Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility policy.
For those unfamiliar with how to make digital content accessible, WSU’s new website also has guides on core concepts alongside examples. Further guides will be published on the website in the coming months. A new digital accessibility newsletter was also launched along with the website, offering information on external tools and trainings as well as other useful updates and information.
Further opportunities to learn about digital accessibility are also being included as workshops within larger trainings around WordPress and the WSU brand. Information on these sessions will be shared as training dates draw closer.
Reporting accessibility issues
An online form is also included on their Digital Accessibility website for members of the university to report any issues.