Electronic and Information Technology
The EIT requires that all information technology developed, purchased or provided by the State of Florida is accessible to individuals with disabilities. In practice, this means that information technology must meet technical standards that are designed to ensure compatibility with assistive technologies and accessibility techniques.
What is Web Accessibility?
Source: University of Washington
People who use the web have a growing variety of characteristics. As web developers, we cannot assume that all our users are accessing our content using the same web browser or operating system as we are, nor can we assume they’re using a traditional monitor for output, or keyboard and mouse for input. Consider these user characteristics:
Unable to see. Individuals who are blind use either audible output (products called screen readers that read web content using synthesized speech) or tactile output (a refreshable Braille device).
Has dyslexia. Individuals with learning disabilities such as dyslexia may also use audible output, along with software that highlights words or phrases as they’re read aloud using synthesized speech.
Has low vision. Individuals with low vision may use screen magnification software that allows them to zoom into all or a portion of the visual screen. Many others with less-than-perfect eyesight may enlarge the font on websites using standard browser functions, such as Ctrl + in Windows browsers or Command + in Mac browsers.
Has a physical disability. Individuals with physical disabilities that effect their use of hands may be unable to use a mouse, and instead may rely exclusively on keyboard or use assistive technologies such as speech recognition, head pointers, mouth sticks, or eye-gaze tracking systems.
Unable to hear. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing are unable to access audio content, so video needs to be captioned and audio needs be transcribed.
Using a mobile device. Individuals who are accessing the web using a compact mobile device such as a phone face accessibility barriers, just like individuals with disabilities do. They’re using a small screen and may need to zoom in or increase the font size, and they are likely to be using a touch interface rather than a mouse. Also, Apple’s iPhone and iPad do not support Adobe Flash.
Limited bandwidth. Individuals may be on slow Internet connections if they’re located in a rural area or lack the financial resources to access high-speed Internet. These users benefit from pages that load quickly (use graphics sparingly) and transcripts for video.
Limited time. Very busy individuals may have too little time to watch an entire video or audio recording, but can quickly access its content if a transcript is available.
An accessible website works for all of these users, and countless others not mentioned.
The W3C summarizes web accessibility nicely in their Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. WCAG 2.0 is organized into the following four key concepts:
There are many possible approaches to attaining accessibility as defined by these four concepts.
What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities.
AT can be low-tech: communication boards made of cardboard or fuzzy felt.
AT can be high-tech: special-purpose computers.
AT can be hardware: prosthetics, mounting systems and positioning devices.
AT can be computer hardware: special switches, keyboards and pointing devices.
AT can be computer software: screen readers and communication programs.
AT can be inclusive or specialized learning materials and curriculum aids.
AT can be specialized curricular software.
AT can be much more—electronic devices, wheelchairs, walkers, braces, educational software, power lifts, pencil holders, eye-gaze and head trackers, and much more.
Assistive technology helps people who have difficulty speaking, typing, writing, remembering, pointing, seeing, hearing, learning, walking and many other things. Different disabilities require different assistive technologies.
Accessible Technology Initiative
The University of West Florida supports an inclusive environment for all students, faculty, staff and visitors. If there are aspects of your experience with the University that hinder your full participation, the University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations.
Providing accessible options for individuals with disabilities at the various University locations and online is a University-wide effort. The following units are actively involved in the initiative:
- Academic Technology Center
- Academic Engagement Division
- Information Technology Services
- Office of the General Counsel
- Office of the Provost
- Student Disability Resource Center
- Institutional Communications
For questions or requests about accessibility complete the Accessibility Support Request for Digital Technology form.
- Accessibility Checklist
- Creating Accessible PowerPoint Presentations
- Creating Accessible Word Documents
- Developing Accessible Websites
- Instructional Media Lab Resources
- Accessibility Cheat Sheets
Additional Resources and Tutorials
Learn how to test the accessibility of your instructional materials and resources.