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Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Compliance Tools

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

Why WAVE for a starter accessibility tool for web design?

  1. It is from WebAIM.
  2. It is Free.
  3. Easy to install browser extension; easier than downloading and running a program.
  4. You can check for easy fixes, such as missing alternative text for images.
  5. WAVE is recommended by many respected institutions.
  6. Extension does not give hackers “Entry Points or Dangerous Functions” (according to report).

Raving about WAVE Video & Slides


Not using WAVE or some kind of accessibility checking can make your website vulnerable to law suits


  • WAVE makes it easy to find and fix the easy stuff on your website
    • avoiding obvious violations that might prompt a lawsuit
    • such as no alternative text for screen readers on images
  • Following principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) helps ALL your students have better access to your content

I use WAVE as a minimum standard for our library website and for vendor products.
I keep my notes on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) at 
If you have questions about web accessibility, contact me at 

What Now? Advice from World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

Suggested Web Validation Tools (

WAVE - The Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) by WebAIM offers several different ways to evaluate the accessibility of a website. You can enter the URL for a public site into the form on the website, but you can also install a browser extension in Chrome or Firefox to test other sites from within your browser window.

Color Oracle - This is a tool for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux computers that simulates the experience of colorblind users. It is a helpful way to make sure that the colors on your web content will be accessible to the widest possible range of viewers and a great way to understand how individuals who are colorblind experience the web.

WCAG Compliance Auditor - The WCAG Compliance Auditor tests code for compliance with various standards and generates charts and reports as an output. This is a great way to create a record of the process of creating and validating your code.

AChecker - Also known as Accessibility Checker, this is an open source tool for checking the accessibility of websites and code files. The tool is free and very easy to use. It is available in English, German and Italian.

Color Contrast Checker - The Color Contrast Checker from WebAIM allows users to check various combinations of hexadecimal values to determine which will be accessible to users with visual impairments. It allows you to evaluate both normal and large text. At the bottom of the page, it also offers links to other recommended tools.

Automated Testing tools review (

Automatic testing tools

Most automated testing tools only find approximately 30-45% of issues, but they will provide you with a very useful baseline to determine where your page or app is at regarding accessibility. Some tools in this category do have a learning curve, but a few hours experimenting with them will turn you into an expert.

WAVE: Somewhat dated but still very useful and friendly. Go to the WAVE site, input a URL, and it will provide a report. The summary panel on the left can be navigated to see issues and examine where on the page they occur.

aXe This browser add-on within Chrome and Firefox is offered by Deque systems. Axe is extra handy because it highlights the problem areas within the interface and within the markup. This feature along with a brief explanation makes it easier for the technical and non-technical personnel to identify and understand the issues.  

tota11y: A Chrome browser extension that has many helpful functions, like identifying illogical heading order, and missing labels. However, one of its most helpful features is the Screen Reader wand. Once the function is enabled, it reads to you what a screen-reader user hears as you hover over any content or navigation on a page. This feature can be helpful in understanding the nature of screen readers and potentially identify issues in the markup.

Comply: A truly automated testing tool licensed by U-M. With Deque Comply, developers can scan complex informational websites and get back usable and actionable reports. Higher level reports and progress charts that provide an overview of a given website, or all the websites within a given unit, are useful for administrators. All reports can be filtered and sorted by several criteria, and you can also set up a scheduled scan to see improvement over time. Contact to learn more about Comply.

Website Accessibility Recommendations from Educational Institutions

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Review

WAI simple checks

  • Perceivable 1.1 Text Alternatives Provide text alternatives for any non-text content  (alt text for images) so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
  • Perceivable 1.2 Time-based Media Provide alternatives for time-based media. NA?
  • Perceivable 1.3 Adaptable Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure. (Mobile friendly?)
  • Perceivable 1.4 Distinguishable Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background. (No contrast errors)
  • Operable 2.1 Keyboard Accessible Make all functionality available from a keyboard. (can navigate with tab and arrow keys)
  • Operable 2.2 Enough Time Provide users enough time to read and use content. NA?
  • Operable 2.3 Seizures Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures. (No flashing images)
  • Operable 2.4 Navigable Provide ways to help users navigate, find content and determine where they are.(Breadcrumb trail)
  • Understandable 3.1 Readable Make text content readable and understandable. (Ask for feed back frequently. adjust as needed)
  • Understandable 3.2 Predictable Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.(Ask for feed back frequently. adjust as needed)
  • Understandable 3.3 Input Assistance Help users avoid and correct mistakes. Look for issues.
  • Robust 4.1 Compatible Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies. (Ongoing)
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