Website Accessibility

Accessible information and technology enhances usability for all persons and it is essential that websites available to the campus community are authored and presented in a manner that is accessible to everyone. Websites that have not been designed with accessibility in mind may prevent users with disabilities from accessing some or all of the content within the site. The following webpage contains information and resources for how to make your webpages more accessible and compliant.

The #1 question we hear “how do I know if my web-based course materials are accessible?” the answer to this popular question is use Blackboard Ally!  If this is a new tool for your virtual toolbelt, Instructional Technology offers a range of trainings, which are posted on their myUMBC site. USM’s Accessibility Group recommends this checklist.

The following video contains guidelines that inform UMBC’s web page template, and informs how web-based content should function for people of all abilities:

The above video is for general website accessibility – learn more  by clicking on the Web Accessibility and W3C Standards video link and then reviewing for additional features (transcript, playing speed, language) or seeking additional information.  

Some basic elements for an accessible webpage:
  • Include a text equivalent description for every image or figure (“alternative text”)
  • Use text-based file types for documents such as:.txt,.htm, and .rtf versus utilizing PDF image files that may be read as a picture
  • Provide controls for users to select the colors that they can see best on web pages
  • Include captions or transcription for all video content
  • Include a “Skip to Main Content” link at the top of each webpage
  • Properly assign titles and headers to ensure your webpage is formatted with a structure that allows for easier navigation to the content pages
  • Remove parallax images, minimize blinking or otherwise distracting visual features
  • Online forms should include tags to describe fields (and alternative options for completion available such as printable forms or in-person completion)
  • Clear visual notifications for any sounds that play automatically
  • Use an accessibility checker tool prior to publishing new content

Training about disability, inclusion and website accessibility is available via UMBC’s website accessibility checker Monsido and is available at an employee’s convenience via Skillsoft Percipio – which has Introduction to Disability and Accessibility course along with a five course series Web Accessibility.  Accessibility is everyone’s responsibility, and many campus professionals receive updates via campus-based PIVOT training for faculty as well as other opportunities. For more information about creating or maintaining accessible web page content, please refer to the following web links:

The following links are a resources that can be leveraged to further support website accessibility:

WebAIM (web accessibility in mind)