Digital Accessibility is concerned with providing equal access to digital communications and platforms to everyone and not just limited to persons with disabilities or special needs. Unlike accommodations, accessible materials are built to provide equal access for individuals, as much as possible, prior to any formal request.
Accessibility refers to whether a product or service can be used by anyone regardless of disability. Can users interact with digital products and services? The traditional perception that electronic information can be accessed easily using a mouse and keyboard does not account for people who are unable to use such devices or simply rely on assistive technology to do so.
It is important to distinguish between the terms accessible and accommodation. An item may be available because it is posted online. However, if not everyone can navigate or interact with the item then it is not accessible. The term accommodation refers to making a modification for someone to gain access or participate as fully as others. Accommodations are made on an individual, as needed, basis. For a more detailed explanation of the difference, you can check out the Access vs. Accommodation page in SBCTC’s Micro-Courses.
Making digital content accessible is a proactive (versus reactive) action to ensure everyone can navigate or interact with items without having to ask for it to be in a format they can engage with.
The What is Accessibility video (below) refers to both accessibility in the physical sense as well as the digital sense, and is helpful in hearing how proactively creating digital materials to be accessible from the start is an act of creating equitable learning content.
For people with these disabilities, a barrier to access is anything that causes confusion, distraction, or otherwise makes content difficult to understand. These barriers can be auditory, cognitive or neurological, physical, speech, and/or visual.
To make content accessible to people with cognitive and neurological disabilities, you need to present information in a clear, concise, and consistent way while minimizing potential distractions.
In our every day work, we are creating digital content, and by law as a higher education institution, we need to ensure that we are creating them in an accessible format.
Examples of where we need to ensure we are creating accessible content includes:
Mon-Fri, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Mon-Fri, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sat, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.