Guides and Training

Accessibility is essential for persons with disabilities, but has benefits for everyone. Accessibility skills are increasingly in demand. With the training and guides provided on these webpages, LWTech staff and students can build their accessibility skills and immediately apply what they learn in everyday tasks. 

Training Courses and Workshops

SBCTC Accessibility Micro-Courses

SBCTC offers a library of accessibility resources. You can peruse these at your leisure, or sign up for a SBCTC micro-course so it shows as a course when you login to Canvas. Each self-paced course is approximately 3 hours in length and focuses on skills and/or content creation programs.  

Current micro-courses include:  

LWTech Accessibility Training Courses 

LWTech’s Professional Development offers live (in-person during normal operations; online via Zoom during remote operations) micro-course workshops to the LWTech community several times a quarter. Workshop dates and times are announced via all college email. For further information please contact or visit the Professional Development webpage

LinkedIn Learning 

LinkedIn Learning is available to all LWTech employees and students with a LWTech email. For help on how to access your LinkedIn Learning account visit the LinkedIn Learning Help page.

Listed here are some of the courses offered on LinkedIn Learning. See full list of accessibility courses for additional training opportunities.

 Additional Courses and Programs on the Web

Creating Accessible Content How-Tos and Tutorials

Applicable for website content (webpages, Canvas, etc.), document (MS Word, Open Office, etc.), and other digital mediums and platforms. 

Accessibility needs relevant to content creators cluster around the need for clear and concise writing, using the correct formatting, and providing content alternatives (text, visual, sound etc). Many of our most common communication mediums have simple steps to ensure that your content is accessible.

When creating any digital content, it is important to remember that some members of your audience may be accessing your content through the use of a screen reader, which reads your content to the user. Others may be unable to use a mouse and may be utilizing the keyboard to work through your content. You can make your content accessible to assistive technologies and methods with some basic steps.

Note, the guides and how-tos are a summary of the in-depth training that is provided in the training section. It is recommended that the reader invest time into the training courses eventually but can use these guides as a good starting point in the interim.

Overview: A Checklist for Content Creators 

  • Images: Alternative text describes each image's meaning in context. 
  • Headings: Headings are formatted as H1/H2/H3 elements, not just big bold text. 
  • Lists: Lists are formatted as lists, not just symbols and numbers.
  • Links: Meaningful links are self-explanatory even out of context (unlike "click here").
  • Tables: Tables have real header cells, not just background colors.
  • Color: Color contrast is strong enough for users with low vision or colorblindness.
  • Video: Ensure to close caption your videos. Automatically generated close captions do not meet the WCAG standard for compliance.
  • Word/PPT/PDF Documents: Running accessibility checkers in MS Office or Acrobat and passing the checkers with no errors, do not guarantee accessibility compliance. Manual checks should always be conducted. 
  • Language: Identify languages for screen readers: "Español" without a language tag is "A Spaniel."
  • Dont's
    • Avoid using images of text.
    • Avoid using tables for layout/content formatting (e.g., fake columns).
    • Avoid using sensory characteristics that disappear with layout or color perception changes (i.e., the red items in the right-hand column).
    • Avoid using color alone to provide meaning. 

Quick How-to Guides and Tutorials

Glossary of Accessibility Related Terms

Term or Acronym Definition
Access The right or opportunity to use or benefit from something. In education, this often refers to the ways in which educational institutions and public policies ensure that learners have equal access to educational opportunities and learning resources. 
Access Barrier An impediment to a learner’s access to full and equitable participation. 
Accessibility Properties that allow a product, service, or facility to be used by people with a wide range of capabilities, either directly or in conjunction with assistive technologies. Although the term "accessibility" typically addresses users who have a disability, the concept is not limited to disability issues.
Accessible Refers to the concept that people with disabilities are able to access and use a product or system, including with the help of assistive technologies. For example, an “accessible” web site may be designed so that the text can be enlarged by the user, rather than having a fixed font size, or may be designed so that it can be interpreted and “read out loud” by screen reader software used by people who are blind or have low-vision. 
Accessible Content Web site or web application content that is developed in a way to include additional structure or information that is used by assistive technology to improve the access to and consumption of the content for people with disabilities. 
Accessible Media Player 

Accessible media players provide a user interface that works without a mouse, through speech interface, when the page is zoomed larger, and with screen readers. For example, media players need to: 

  • Provide keyboard support 
  • Make the keyboard focus indicator visible 
  • Provide clear labels 
  • Have sufficient contrast between colors for text, controls, and backgrounds 

Some media players provide additional accessibility functionality to users such as: 

  • Changing the speed of the video 
  • Setting how captions are displayed (e.g., text style, text size, colors, and position of the captions) 
  • Reading the captions with a screen reader and braille device 
  • Interactive transcripts
Accommodation An accommodation is a means or method outside of Section 508 standards designed to assist users with disabilities in cases where the application of current Section 508 standards is neither feasible nor helpful. 
Alternative Text (often referred to as “alt-text”)  Text that is added to non-text content (via HTML markup), usually images, which can be read by screen readers and other text-to-speech programs so that visually impaired or blind users are able to understand the purpose and function of the non-text content.
Assistive Technologies  Adaptive, rehabilitative devices that promote greater independence for individuals with disabilities by changing how these individuals interact with technology. Examples include alternative input devices (e.g., head or foot mouse, puff- and-sip switches, speech recognition), screen magnifiers, screen-reading software and speech recognition software. 
Disability Definitions for the term disability vary widely, arising from medical or social perspectives. Commonly accepted disabilities include (but are not limited to) impairment of one or more senses, cognitive disabilities, and mobility limitations. 
Braille Braille is not a language. Rather, it is a code by which text may be written and read. Braille is a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or who have low vision, and provides a means of literacy for all. 
Captions Text-based alternatives of the audio content in a video/animation provided to convey the auditory information to users who are deaf or hard of hearing. Note: Although sometimes seemingly the same, captions and subtitles are different. Captions provide a textual copy of the audio information, whereas subtitles provide a translation of the audio to different languages.
Closed Captioning (CC)  Captions that can be turned on or off by the user. Closed captions can be toggled on/off, whereas open captions are always on. 
Cognitive Disability  Persons with cognitive disabilities may have difficulty with various types of mental tasks. Intellectual disabilities, also known as developmental delay or mental retardation, are a group of disorders defined by diminished cognitive and adaptive development. 
Color Blindness  A reduced ability to distinguish between certain colors, color blindness is usually classified as a vision disability. 
Context-Sensitive Help  Help text that provides information related to the function currently being performed. 
Contrast Ratio  In an accessibility context, this usually means the ratio between the color of text (or other important visual information) and the color of the background, which must meet minimum ratio levels to ensure legibility for visually-impaired/color blind users.
Deaf Someone who lacking the power of hearing or having impaired hearing.
Decorative Image  An image that does not add information or meaning to content, is used for visual interest only, and are exempt from certain accessibility guidelines like as alternative text. 
Descriptive Transcript  A descriptive transcript includes both audio AND visual information needed to understand the content. Descriptive transcripts are required to provide content to people who are both deaf and blind. They are also used by people who process text information better than audio and video. 
Disability A physical or mental condition or function that restricts an individual's movements, senses, or abilities relative to the typical standards of a group. The term is used to refer to individual functioning, including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment, mental illness, and various types of chronic diseases. 
Essential If removed, would fundamentally change the information or functionality of the content, AND information and functionality cannot be achieved in another way that would conform.
Government Product/Service Accessibility Template (GPAT)  A GPAT is a simple tool to assist Federal contracting and procurement officials in fulfilling the market research requirements associated with the Section 508 standards. The GPAT is intended as a form to be included with government solicitations. 
Hard of Hearing Hard of hearing refers to people with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. People who are hard of hearing usually communicate through spoken language and can benefit from hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices as well as captioning.
Images of Text  Text that has been rendered in a non-text form (e.g., an image) in order to achieve a particular visual effect. This does not include text that is part of a picture that contains significant other visual content.
Keyboard Access  The ability to interact with a computer using a keyboard rather than a mouse. Users who have problems with fine motor skills or hand-eye coordination may prefer to use the keyboard to navigate through content. Common keyboard controls include using the Tab and Arrow keys to move from element to element (e.g., hyperlinks, buttons) and Enter/Spacebar to activate them. 
Learning Disability  A condition giving rise to difficulties in acquiring knowledge and skills to the level expected of those of the same age, especially when not associated with a physical disability. 
Light Sensitivity  Extreme sensitivity to light (called photophobia) can cause severe eye pain and headaches for some people. This sensitivity can make it difficult or impossible to read content designed with light or bright backgrounds/color schemes.
MathML A form of XML used to describe the content and structure of mathematical notation on web pages and other documents. Using MathML enables complex equations to be more easily accessible to screen readers, and can help in the creation of alternative text. 
Motor Impairment Impairments that affect motor control, which refers to the capacity of the body, or of a body part to move, regardless of the goal and intended function of the movement produced. 
Mouth Stick  A mouth stick is an assistive device used for typing by some people who experience severe mobility impairments. The mouth stick has a plastic or rubber feature at one end that is inserted into the mouth for controlling the movement, at the other end is a rubber tip for tapping on keyboard keys.
Nemeth Braille  The Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics is a Braille code for encoding mathematical and scientific notation linearly using standard six-dot Braille cells for tactile reading by the visually impaired. 
OCR Stands for "Optical Character Recognition." OCR is a technology that recognizes text within a digital image. It is commonly used to recognize text in scanned documents, but it serves many other purposes as well.
Reading Order  Real-time captions, or Computer Assisted Real-time Translation (CART), are created as an event takes place. A captioner (often trained as a court reporter or stenographer) uses a stenotype machine with a phonetic keyboard and special software. A computer translates the phonetic symbols into captions almost instantaneously and displays them on a laptop or on a large display screen.
Refreshable Braille Display  A device that can dynamically display braille translated from an electronic file. Displays range from 12 to 80 characters or cells. A braille reader is able to access educational materials from a variety of electronic file formats. 
Responsive Design  An approach to web page creation that makes use of flexible layouts, flexible images and cascading style sheet media queries. The goal of responsive design is to build web pages or applications that detect the visitor's screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.
Screen Magnifier  A type of assistive technology that enables a user to enlarge all or part of the screen. Note that a screen magnifier is a separate piece of software and not the same as zoom functionality in user agents such as browsers. 
Screen Reader  A software application that attempts to identify and interpret what is displayed on the screen, translating the information usually to speech. Screen readers are relied on by people with no functional vision, but software that reads out on-screen content may also be used by people who have difficulty reading, because of a visual or cognitive impairment. 
Section 508  The standards that were issued under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires access for both members of the public and federal employees to such technologies when developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies or any institution receiving federal funds. 
Semantic Markup  The use of HTML markup to ensure content is identified by its meaning as opposed to just its appearance. Semantic markup enables screen readers to more accurately and usefully interpret the content of web pages. 
Sensory Language  The use of shape, size, color, position or orientation to give the reader a visual image or layout to help describe controls or provide directions.
Speech To Text (STT)  The translation of spoken words into text. It is also known as automatic speech recognition, computer speech recognition, or just speech to text. 
Standards A standard is a set of requirements, specifications, characteristics, or guidelines that can be used to measure products, processes, and services. A standard can provide an incentive for compliance, and may be required by a customer, even though there is no legal requirement for adhering to them. 
Text Alternative 

Text Alternative (not to be confused with Alternative Text or “alt-text”) is additional text that is provided to convey the same information that is presented by non-text content (e.g., tables, charts, applets, media files, etc.). 

Providing a text alternative also allows screen readers to convert the text into speech output. Additionally, having the information in text also makes it possible to translate the information into braille, sign language, pictures, or a simpler form of writing.

Text To Speech (TTS)  A form of speech synthesis that converts text into spoken voice output. Text to speech systems were first developed to aid the visually impaired or learning disabled by offering a computer-generated spoken voice that would "read" text to the user. 
Transcript A text-based alternative to audio/video content that enables deaf/hard-of-hearing users to access the content. 
Usability Refers to how easily, effectively, and efficiently people, including people with disabilities, can use a product or system to achieve their goals, and how satisfied they are with the experience. The definition can be extended to user experience, covering a more subjective quality of enjoyment. 
Vision Impairment  Blindness or low vision are types of visual impairments, not necessarily limited to distance vision. Low vision applies to all individuals with sight who are unable to read the newspaper at a normal viewing distance, unable to be improved with corrective lenses or surgery. 
Visually Customizable A software application that enables a computer to accept voice commands. This allows for little or no use of the keyboard and mouse. 
Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)  A VPAT is a vendor-generated statement (using the required template) that provides relevant information on how a vendor's product or service claims to conform to the Section 508 Standards. 
W3C World Wide Web Consortium or W3C is an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. Led by Web inventor and Director Tim Berners-Lee and CEO Jeffrey Jaffe, W3C's mission is to lead the Web to its full potential.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)  Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (current standards are 2.0 and 2.1). A set of internationally-agreed recommendations and success criteria developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to make web content more accessible for users with disabilities. These form the basis of the Pearson accessibility guidelines. 
White (Negative) Space  “White” or “Negative” Space refers to any empty space between text, images and other site content. White space is not always white; it may be another color - depending on the background color used.