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Accessibility: Water Cooler Edition

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Accessibility: Water Cooler Edition

Meet me at the water cooler.

Meet me at the water cooler.

As Tarleton’s Accessibility Coordinator (Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §206), I was recently invited to an accessibility conference for all Texas accessibility coordinators. While this is not the first accessibility conference I’ve been to, this is the first that the Texas DIR hosted, so I wanted to share with you some tidbits from the conference that may or may not start conversations around some water coolers.

Please feel free to contact me on any subject, whether it is a concern on how to fix accessibility issues or why an issue is considered inaccessible.

Links
  • Redundant links are confusing because they do not tell the user what the links actually go to when they select one.
    • e.g., “click here”, “syllabi”, “here”, “this” 
  • Web addresses for link text is annoying for users who listen to the link literally being spelled out to them. They don’t know where they are going until perhaps that last portion of the address that is the name of the page.
Paragraphs
  • Use Headings to set off content – not bolded paragraphs. This provides users who listen to a page the ability to scan for important information and hop over to what they want instead of having to listen to the entire page. This is similar to a visual user scanning a page – as we all know very few users read the entire page!
Images
  • Use Alternative Text on images in web pages and documents like Word.
    • When using Cascade, alternative text is a requirement, but you have to proactively add them onto Word documents. WebAIM shows how to add alternative text with different versions of Word.
    • Similarly, if you are creating a PDF document from a Word document, you need to consider Alternative Text on all the images.
Flash
  • Numerous accessibility agencies have determined Flash is not accessible based on the software requirements in Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §206. Specifically, Flash does not inherit user settings (e.g., color settings).
    • FYI: While this means that all Flash products need alternatives to be accessible, we know that it will take a great deal of time and research to resolve this particular issue across our websites and e-Learning modules. Given the versatility of Flash, we must look at issues on a case-by-case manner, and solutions may not be immediately available.
PDF Documents (Adobe Reader)
  • Scanned documents are not accessible because they are just large images on a single page. You cannot highlight the text on the page.
    • Whenever possible, use the original Word or other Office document, and save it as a PDF document.
    • If you must use a scanned document, contact your Accessibility Coordinator (Karole Schroeder, schroeder@tarleton.edu, x1819) to determine an alternative solution.

This information was provided to inform you of observations by our agencies who assist and educate us on accessibility issues. The only action requested is to keep an eye out for accessibility issues, and keep the conversation open as we all work towards a more accessible Tarleton.