What is accessibility?
Accessibility ensures everyone, including people with disabilities, has access to the same information, services, and products.
Why is accessibility important?
Imagine you are taking an online course, and part of an exam is to listen to a video and answer questions afterward. You can only view the video once and can't retake the exam. However, something is wrong with the audio, and you can't hear anything. You start panicking because you don't know what is happening in the video and you can't answer the questions. What do you do since this portion of the exam is a large percentage of the test? This poor grade might cause you to drop the class. You've wasted your time and money on a class you could have passed if you had the option of viewing the video with closed captioning.
As an educational institution, we firmly believe in equal opportunities for all. We are committed to making it as easy as possible for everyone in our community to find the information they need on our website. Our site is designed to work better with many of the assistive technology tools used for browsing websites. If we design with accessibility in mind, then we can improve the experience for all users.
We strive to achieve the recommendations of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). We reference these guidelines to create web pages that successfully meet WCAG requirements. This is an ongoing process, and it is possible that users may encounter problems accessing pages or documents. If you find a page that isn't accessible, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips and best practices
When creating documents, it is essential to remember that people who are visually impaired or have limited vision will be using screen readers. The screen readers need to be able to identify all parts of your documents, including text, graphics, images, and tables.
Here is a list of guidelines that will help screen readers identify the components of your document. To ensure your documents meet accessibility standards, use the accessibility features in Microsoft Office.
Emails, Word, Excel, and PDFs
- Use a font such as Times or Arial; nothing fancy.
- Use size 11-point font and above.
- Use black and white; there is no reason to use colored text.
- Stay away from using background colors. Someone with low visibility might have trouble reading the text if there isn't enough contrast.
- When creating email messages, your email body should not be an image. If you can't grab the text in the email by highlighting it to copy and paste somewhere else, then it is not accessible.
- Images must have alternative text. Alternative text describes images to visually impaired users.
- Make sure the image is not central to the message. If you were to take out the image or photo, would the message still make sense to someone who is blind?
- Do not use image links.
- When inserting links, use descriptive text instead of the a long URL. The screen reader
will read the links and tell the user where they might choose to navigate. It's helpful
to the user to hear descriptive text rather than a long line of URL jargon they may
- Bad Example: For more information about TCC's meningitis vaccination requirements, visit http://www.tccd.edu/Admissions/Meningitis_Vaccinations.html.
- Better Example: Find more information about TCC's meningitis vaccination requirements.
- Do not use the words Click Here. That doesn't tell the person where the link will take them.
- Any audio or video you link to needs to have a transcript for closed captioning.
- Use alternative text for all graphics and pictures so a screen reader or Braille display can output the text.
- All slides should have a unique slide title. This can be verified by running the accessibility checker.
- The reading order of the slide should be logical.
Audio and Video
- Record the presentation. It can then be given on demand to people who are blind or have difficulty seeing the presentation screen.
- Turn on closed captioning during the presentation or use a live captioning service.
- If using any video clips, provide a transcript so the video can be closed captioned for people who are deaf. Having a transcript is useful for everyone if there is low audio quality.
- Have documentation on demand. Give out the slides or documents ahead of time (by email) or give material on a flash drive at the time of the event.
- If using a PDF, verify your document is accessible by running the Adobe Acrobat accessibility checker.
When speaking about a person with a disability, you should always refer to the person first and not the disability. Learn more about acceptable terminology at Disabled World.
To learn accessibility basics, best practices and view a list of more resources, visit usability.gov.
Director of Employee Relations
Student Accessibility Resources
Learn more about your campus's Student Accessibility Resources.
Updated January 20, 2023