Texas Tech University

On Accessibility

Guidelines for Accessible Technology

by Jackie L. Luft, Ed.D.

Accessible technology includes any digital media or content in our online courses, Blackboard courses, or website created for a department or program at Texas Tech University. But what does "accessible technology" really mean? How do instructors and website developers create accessible content?

Below is a list of requirements derived from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 and The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, WCAG 2.0 requirements, and OCR Rulings involving online education.

Federal Requirements for Accessible Technology

  • Media with only audio includes transcripts (lectures, podcasts, mp3 file, etc.)
  • Videos have synchronized captions.
  • Documents are formatted and saved to be accessible (Word, PowerPoints, PDFs, Excel, etc.)
  • Presentations are formatted and saved to be accessible.
  • Images have alt text, title and description.
  • Descriptive hyperlinks are titles of websites -- avoid both "Click Here" and URL/web address.
  • Only use underline for hyperlink.
  • Graphic text must be an accessible image (Wordart, Wordles, etc.)
  • No use of flashing or blinking content.
  • Tables follow software guidelines for accessibility.
  • Graphs/charts have title as alt text and a long description near graph or in text body.
  • Color is not used as exclusive indicator of emphasis.
  • Sufficient color contrast is provided.
  • Website can be navigated with the keyboard.
  • Navigation tabs are consistent on each web page.

This list may seem daunting at first but once you take the time to learn the mechanics of creating accessible content, you will find like any new skill, it becomes easier over time. Worldwide eLearning is here to help. The Instructional Design team can offer many suggestions on accessibility. Just contact them at elearning.id@ttu.edu. Worldwide eLearning also offers multiple workshops for you to learn specific skills or a general session on Accessible Technology for your course content. You can register for these courses on the TLPDC Events webpage.

If you are not an instructor but create or maintain websites for Texas Tech, be sure to attend the short course "Accessibility for the Web" through the IT department. You can learn more at TTU IT Short Courses.

There are also some very good websites that can help you with tips on digital accessibility:

  • WebAim – One of the most popular sites for information on accessible technology.
  • DO-IT Center – Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology Center at University of Washington, dedicated to empowering people with disabilities through technology and education.
  • Introduction to Web Accessibility –  from the W3C, the Web Accessibility Initiative.

Although educators are required by law to provide accessible technology, we all strive to make information available with the same ease of use and timeliness as for a person without disabilities. These resources are available to help us all achieve a goal of fully accessible online content.

It's not just about disabled users being able to access your website — it's about everyone being able to access your website.
Trenton Moss, Owner of Webcredible Consultancy Firm, UK