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EKU WEB ACCESSIBILITY. Led By: Parker Owens. What is Web Accessibility?. Web Accessibility is the concept or idea that every person who has access to the internet can view, browse, interact, hear, and gather the same content. . Universal Design.

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Led By: Parker Owens

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What is Web Accessibility?

Web Accessibility is the concept or idea that every person who has access to the internet can view, browse, interact, hear, and gather the same content.

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Universal Design

  • Universal design strives to be a broad-spectrum solution that helps everyone, not just people with disabilities.

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Accessibility vs. Usability

Usability – easy to learn, quick to use, simple, easy navigation, enjoyable

Common usability issues

  • Large file size over a modem

  • Broken links

  • Disorganized information or too many links

  • Overly complex writing, no plain language

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Disability Statistics

In the US, roughly 12% of adults, and at least 30% of all people over 65 have an impairment. In Kentucky, 20% of adults are impaired.

The major disability types are:

  • Visual - blindness, low vision, color-blindness

  • Hearing - deafness

  • Motor - inability to use a mouse, slow response time, limited fine motor control

  • Cognitive - learning disabilities, distractibility, inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information

    WebAim Video - Windows MediaQuicktime

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U.S. Government Census

Evaluation Report Covering Disability (111 pgs.)



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There is no single, universally accepted definition of disability.

The CDC Definition of Disability is based on these questions:

  • Does this person have any of the following long lasting conditions:

    • blindness, deafness, or a severe vision or hearing impairment?

    • a condition that substantially limits one or more basic physical activities such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying?

  • Because of a condition lasting 6 months or more, does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities:

    • learning, remembering, or concentrating?

    • dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the home?

    • going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor’s office?

    • working at a job or business?

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Millions of disabled users

Source: Study commissioned by Microsoft, conducted by Forrester Research, Inc., 2004

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Why does this concern Higher Education?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, require that individuals with disabilities receive equal access to federally-funded programs, services and activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the program, service or activity or such access would impose an undue burden.

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Why Does This Concern Higher Education?

In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Education is responsible for enforcing the existing laws with regard to the accessibility of online education. The Department of Justice audits federally funded websites.

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OCR Complaints in 2006

  • 3, 025 disability related complaints received by the OCR Enforcement Offices in 2006


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Additionally...Kentucky has laws

In 2000, the Kentucky General Assembly passed a far-reaching law, commonly called the Kentucky Accessible Information Technology (AIT) Act, KRS 61.980 - 61.988, which requires state-supported institutions use accessible information technology resources.

This includes online applications like EKU registration and Blackboard. This law explicitly covers school districts, universities, and all other institutions supported with state funds.

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Freedom Initiative

  • On February 1, 2001, President Bush announced the New Freedom Initiative - a comprehensive program to promote the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of society by increasing access to assistive and universally designed technologies, expanding educational and employment opportunities, and promoting increased access into daily community life.

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Related issues

  • Textbook Accessibility Act – requires publishers to provide instructional material in an electronic format without additional cost

  • No Child Left Offline - brings together public and private partners to bridge the gap for the 215,000 children in Kentucky who do not own a home computer

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Two Reasons To Care About Web Accessibility

  • It's the right thing to do!

  • You might be sued for non-compliance!


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Some Non Accessible Examples

  • Images without text descriptions ("alt tags")

  • Tables with "tabs," or without column headings

  • "Click here" and other bad navigation practices

  • Bizarre page layout, poorly composed text

  • Color used for emphasis, navigation or reference

  • Frames without names

  • Poor color combinations, low contrast, small fonts

  • Flashing text or animations at trigger frequencies

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Some Non Accessible Examples

What's wrong with this site?

  • http://www.nike.com – view site in free text viewer, http://www.yellowpipe.com/yis/tools/lynx/lynx_viewer.php

  • http://www.amazon.com – view site without mouse (use pointer)

  • http://www.mrplant.com/ - view site without images

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  • http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/misunderstoodminds - multiple simulations

  • http://www.webaim.org/simulations/screenreader-sim.htm - screenreader simulation

  • http://www.webaim.org/simulations/lowvision-sim.htm - low vision simulation

  • http://www.webaim.org/simulations/dyslexia-sim.html - dyslexia simulation

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Assistive Technologies

  • Visual –

    • Screen Reading Software (e.g. JAWS)

    • Display enlarging tools (e.g. plug ins for accessibility). Read/Please

  • Aural –

    • Closed Captioning for video

  • Cognitive –

    • Demonstrating good design layout and organization. Organized and simple content

  • Motor –

    • Speech Recognition Software, Input device technologies substitute for mouse/keyboard

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No Quick Fixes!

You Are Not AloneandHelp is Abundant!

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Fixing Accessibility

  • Hit the high priority issues immediately whenever you create new documents for web distribution (whether HTML or not) :

    • add image descriptors ("alt tags"),

    • table headings,

    • proper document structure, and

    • meaningful figure captions

  • If your current software does not provide convenient accessibility options, find software that does.

  • In Blackboard, always post the original MS Office Suite documents for downloading.

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  • Web Publishing Validators - BUT remember that these tools evaluate only the html code, measuring nothing about the semantics (meaning and cognitive impact) of the site.

    • Cynthia Says

    • WAVE

  • Access E-Learning Grade

  • Accessible Web Publishing Wizard for Microsoft Office

  • Equal Access to Software Information

  • W3C Schools Full Web Building Tutorials

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EKU Web Accessibility Initiative

  • Eastern Kentucky University's Web Accessibility Policy

  • Free training classes

  • Accessible University-Wide Template

  • Blackboard Classroom

  • Easy "How-to" Publications (Quick Tips)

  • Lunch and learns

  • Monitoring/Evaluation

  • Incentives

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Web Accessibility Office

Mandy Eppley – Blackboard

Parker Owens – Websites and Blackboard