What is Accessibility

  • Simply put, accessibility is a word to describe whether or not something can be accessed by people with abilities and disabilities.  The goal of accessibility is creating equal access for all.  You might also think of accessibility as treating everyone the same, and giving them equal opportunities, regardless of their ability or circumstances.

Examples of Accessibility

    • Ramps to enter building for wheelchair access.
    • Language interpreters and translators for hearing impared and non-native language speakers.
    • Closed captioning for videos.
    • High contrast color schemes on computer systems.
    • Testing accommodations for students with disabilities.

Accessibility on the Web

  • Web accessibility means that web technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them.  When designed and developed correctly all users will have equal access to content and functionality.  Web accessibility provides social inclusion and benefits people with changing abilities due to age, temporary disabilities, and situational limitations.  This includes changing abilities due to age, injuries, environmental situations affecting lighting and noise, as well as digital connection issues.

Our Accessibility Responsibilities

    • It is ethically and morally right to make our website inclusive.
      • When content is inaccessible, not all visitors can equally receive necessary information.
    • Web accessibility increases our community outreach.
      • An estimated 22% of adults in the US have some type of disability.  We can miss almost one quarter of our target audience.
      • It helps build loyalty and trust with our target audience.
      • If our content is not accessible, visitors will not return for information to our site.
    • Accessible content is a requirement through laws and regulations.
      • The Office of Civil Rights oversees making education accessible for school communities.
      • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for Accessible Design published in 2010, stating information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities.

Accessibility Standards

  • US web accessibility standards are created by the US Office of Civil Rights.  Websites are currently evaluated using international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).  The WCAG are organized under four main principles:

    • Perceivable - Users must be able to detect the information presented.
    • Operable - Interface cannot require interactions users cannot perform.
    • Understandable - Content and operation is not beyond the user’s understanding.
    • Robust - Can be interpreted reliably by wide range of user agents (browsers/devices) and assistive technologies.

Common Website Accessibility Issues

    • Improper use of headers.
    • Empty links, or links without alternate text.
    • Improper use of tables.
    • Color contrast issues.
    • Missing alternative text from images.
    • Posted documents are not accessible
    • Videos without captions.
    • Readability of content.

Blackboard Accessibility Features

  • The Blackboard Web Community Manager (WCM) is the content management system we use to build our district website. It was selected due to its ease of use, flexibility, and integrated content accessibility features.  These characteristics allow district web page managers to create consistent content without the need to have complex programming and website creation skill sets and knowledge.