As the University adapts courses, workspaces, programs, and services for online delivery, we are likely to see an increase in challenges that are directly or indirectly related to digital accessibility issues. Consider how your program’s online presence may cause disruption or confusion for your participants, including users with disabilities and users of assistive technologies.
Some questions you can ask:
Does the participant need to SEE to do this?
Participants may be blind or have low vision, may be working on smaller screens, may be in environments with glare or insufficient lighting, or may be limited by network or hardware capacity. Activities such as real-time polling, reading charts and graphs, and online discussions may present barriers.
- Provide a text alternative (webpage, Word document, accessible PDF)
- Provide an audio alternative (audio description, audio file)
- Provide alternative interaction for all participants (accessible online surveys, phone access)
Does the participant need to HEAR to do this?
Participants may be Deaf or Hard of Hearing, have low-quality audio connections, or be located in distracting environments. Activities that require clear hearing, such as online lectures, instructional and training video, and real-time collaborations may present barriers.
- Provide a text alternative (captions, transcripts, CART)
- Provide video access to interpreter services (additional Zoom room or similar resource)
Does the participant need to use a MOUSE to do this?
Participants may have limited dexterity, limited vision, or may be using a touch-screen/non-compatible device. Activities that require mouse use, such as click-and-drag, polling/timed selections, or multiple selections (control-clicking), may present barriers.
- Make sure key tasks can be accomplished without a mouse (keyboard, voice command, eye-tracking)
- Offer alternative activities that do not require a mouse (verbal, written, keyboard-only)
Does the participant need EXTRA TIME to complete tasks?
Participants may have limited mobility, attention or processing conditions, or may be limited by network or hardware capacity. Activities that require timed response, such as timed exams, timed polls, or that require the user to switch between multiple tools, may present barriers.
- Consider whether timing is relevant to the completion of the task
- Remove or mitigate time constraints for tasks that don’t rely on timing
- Provide alternative activities that are not time-sensitive
- Consider that some users may not be able to spend an extended period of time online
Does the participant already have an ACCOMMODATION for this?
Participants may have received an accommodation that works well in the classroom. Consider that a user’s accommodations may not translate well to online delivery. Some examples might include in-person sign language interpreters, extended test time, note-taking, and document conversion.
- How can the process be modified to eliminate the need for accommodation?
- Can the user receive a more appropriate accommodation?
Does the participant need to learn a NEW TOOL OR SKILL to use this?
Participants may have been using a specific group of tools in the office or classroom. Some may be familiar with a small number of common technologies like email, websites, and social media. Consider whether it’s in their best interests to introduce new or highly specialized tools into your course or workflow.
- Minimize the number of tools your participants need to participate
- Share files from a single, reliable location
- Leverage familiar tools like email, websites, and social media
- Adapt processes rather than introduce new technology