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Accessible Documents, Media, and Online Tools

Utah State Board of Education

Draft Policy

Documents, media, and online tools that are not accessible pose a roadblock to gaining information and meaningfully participating in day-to-day activities for many people in the United States with disabilities. While not all disabilities affect an individual’s capacity to access digital content, a substantial number of people face significant barriers when attempting to understand and utilize materials posted on websites. Documents or tools that are accessible can be used regardless of the type of adaptive equipment used (e.g. as a screen reader, reading magnifier, or voice recognition technology (Pennsylvania State University, 2015). Additionally, accessible media helps others including English learners, older readers with lower literacy skills, and the graying population who are losing hearing and vision acuity, for example.

The Utah State Board of Education is committed to ensuring that its website and materials are accessible to people with disabilities. We uphold the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and Section 508 standards and require a minimum AA standard of compliance. In addition, the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) will ensure third-party content providers of web content are aware of our web accessibility policy. Content provided for USBE by third-party developers must meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and Section 508 standards at a minimum AA standard of compliance.

Any documents, media, or online tools that could reasonably be used to communicate information (emails and attachments, presentations, documents, videos, third-party materials or media, anything posted on a website) from any state agency are included in the requirement for accessibility (United States Accessibility Board, 2015). Materials from the UMTSS conference will be posted online and are subject to this requirement.

The following recommendations can help you with compliance. Please note that this checklist is not comprehensive and there may be other items you need to consider and adjust based on the type of materials or media that you create. Please refer to WebAIM's WCAG checklist, WebAIM's Section 508 checklist, Section 508 Accessibility Checklists, or NCDAE cheat sheets for detailed information.

  • Commit to learning and applying accessibility standards; create only accessible documents and media.
  • Create simple, clear and navigable documents and other media using built-in tools within your productivity software, such as Style headings in Word.
  • Choose appropriate font types and sizes for text such as 12 point Arial font.
  • Ensure appropriate color contrast for text and information conveyed through color. Use WebAIM's color contrast checker to check color contrast.
  • Create table formats appropriate for screen readers and eliminate use of nested tables.
  • Add descriptive alternative text for any images or graphics.
  • Format lists using your software’s bullet or list tools.
  • Include meaningful and descriptive link text instead of URLs.
  • Close-caption videos and recorded content. YouTube has integrated tools to help.
  • Prior to publishing or distributing, use built-in accessibility checker tools within your productivity software to check for and correct accessibility errors, such as MS Word’s or PowerPoint’s Accessibility Tool.

Brault, M. (2012, July). Americans with disabilities. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2012/demo/p70-131.pdf

Caldwell, B., Cooper, M., Reid, L. G., & Vanderheiden, G. (Eds.). (2008). Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Retrieved from https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

Cheatsheets - NCDAE. (2016). Retrieved from http://ncdae.org/resources/cheatsheets/

Pennsylvania State University. (2015). Accessibility at Penn State | Definition of Accessibility. Retrieved from http://accessibility.psu.edu/accommodations/definition/

U.S. General Services Administration. (2016). Section508.gov | GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program. Retrieved from https://www.section508.gov/

United States Access Board. (2015). Overview of the Proposed Rule - United States Access Board. Retrieved from https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-ict-refresh/overview-of-the-proposed-rule

Utah State University. (2016). WebAIM: Web Accessibility In Mind. Retrieved from http://webaim.org/