Students With Disabilities

 Designing with the Disabled in Mind

ADA

Designing with Disabled Students in Mind

It's important for professors to remember that their teaching tools, specifically those posted on the internet and CourseDen, need to be accessible to all potential students, including those with disabilities. To assist you in making your pages readily accessible, here is a simple list of recommendedDo's and Don't's that will guide you through building web pages that can be used by disabled students.

Do

  1. If your page includes images, slides, pictures, etc., be sure to include a link to a copy of the page without any images, slides, pictures, etc (a Text-only version) OR be certain to describe the images, etc within the text of the page (imagine that you are blind and describe what you see).
  2. Try to refrain from using tables to organize information presented on your pages. If this is a necessity, create a plain text version (a text only version) or describe the information within the text. 
  3. Create links to other sites/pages in enlarged fonts and/or underlined text.
  4. Use consistent styles and fonts on your webpages.
  5. Base your navigation tools on large clearly distinguishable icons or words.
  6. Keep pages relatively short.
  7. Refrain from using Java Applets in your web pages.
  8. When using audio or video, provide a text-only version transcript. Or, alternately, provide a comparable text-based option or assignment.

Don't

  1. Create a page with images without a text only version. This keeps individuals with screen reading devices (typically for those with vision too poor to read from a monitor) from being able to use their tools because often times these tools are unable to interpret elements of pages that aren't text.
  2. Similar to the use of images, tables can cause problems for text reading tools used by individuals with poor vision.
  3. Leave links to other sites/pages in the same font as the rest of your text. This helps individuals easily identify links and for those who have difficulty using a mouse, it provides a larger image for them to click on.
  4. Switching styles, fonts, formats, etc. from page to page is often confusing and keeps individuals in general from easily navigating through your web site/page.
  5. Use colors, detailed icons, or similar wording as integral elements of your navigation. This too makes navigation difficult and confusing.
  6. Long web pages make visiting your page tedious for individuals who use text reading tools becuase they must listen to the entire page as a whole then proceed to the next page. Short page make for more poignant main ideas and prevent individuals from being bombarded with too much information at one time.
  7. Java Applets can create multitudes of difficulties with tools for web browsing disabled individuals.
  8. Streamed Audio/Video is inaccessible to persons with hearing impairment and most text reading tools cannot handle these types of files. Be certain to include a text-only transcript. Or, alternately, provide a comparable text-based option or assignment.
Handy Resources

The following list of websites is comprised of organizations who have usefuk information concerning the creation of websites that are easily accessible to individuals with disablilities:

Closing the Gap is a company that lists soft/hardware resources for the disabled:
http://www.closingthegap.com/

The World Wide Web Consortium publishes access guidelines at:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/

Listing of accessibility checker tools:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/complete

For more information concerning the accessibility of your web page, contact the Distance Education office at            (678) 839-6248      .