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Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Web Accessibility - Laws and Links

Many students do not want to self-identify as disabled. If you design your course from the start with learning differentiation in mind, everyone does better, and special accommodation needs can disappear


FVTC Library Services - ADA compliance and goals

Use page regions (main navigation & sub-navigation) and aria labels to define the region
(Libguides provides)

Nest heading ranks level (h1 – most important, h6 – least important)
(in practice)

Include tooltips to improve navigation links
Need to look at for further implementation)

Ensure all images have alt-tag descriptions
(in pactice, checked with Wave extension)

Linked documents (such as PDFs) must be accessible
(Need to look at for further implementation)

Be mindful of the use of color and color contrast
(in pactice, checked with Wave extension)

Ensure accessible keyboard navigation for non-mouse users
(in practice through manual check of navigation with tabs and arrow keys)

Implement a defined focus box for keyboard navigation (Review to implement – more than just links being different based on status)

Do not use images that flash more than three times per second 
(in practice, no flashing images)

Why worry about accessibility?

One of the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is to provide a variety of ways to learn a concept so that people with different strengths and weaknesses can learn the concept without additional accommodations. 

My personal “Web accessibility program” is continuous improvement.   As I read tips for improving our website, I try to incorporate them.  When I have time, I go back to the and to look for more tips.

Vendor agreements advice

Push for accessibility language to be included in all licenses and if vendors refuse your campus procurement process is requesting that they put together detailed Equally Effective Alternate Access Plans   -  how our patrons with disabilities can access the resource in an equitable manner to our patrons without disabilities.   Adding language to the license is often preferable to the detailed EEAAP process which holds up the contract even longer.   

Equally Effective Alternate Access Plans

This resource provides an example of the components of an Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAAP) by postsecondary institutions when buying, developing, or using a technology that is not accessible to students with disabilities. Postsecondary institutions are required to comply with two federal disability civil rights statutes: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Accessibility is legally mandated and is also a foundational component of UDL to create educational environments responsive to the widest possible range of learners.

Warning: It's not binding if it's in the order form.  

Accessibility and Universal Design: Tips and Trends ( Excerpts

Use fonts that are more legible (e.g., Arial, Calibri, Georgia, Helvetica, Tahoma, Verdana).
Check color contrast between text and background (tip: use the Color Contrast Checker on the WebAIM site).
• Use active hyperlinks that have descriptive anchor text indicating where the link leads.
• If using mathematical equations, create them using LaTex or an editor (such as MathType) that converts to MathML.
• For tables, use table headers for rows and columns, use captions for table titles, and avoid merged cells.
• When formatting, rather than relying on bold and italics to delineate sections and headers, use formatting tools within text editing applications to create headers, sections, and lists.

UX Best practices & Accessibility Best practices

Easy-to-read text

Consistent and predictable elements

Descriptive titles, headings, and labels
(html added description for screen readers that is invisible to public view)

Multiple navigation mechanisms
(tabs, arrows, mouse)

Skip links
(for screen readers)

Visual orientation clues
(links change color, have emphasized underline, not just color)


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