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ADA Accessibility Cheat Sheet

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) governs the regulations for businesses and State and local governments, technical assistance materials, ADA standards for Accessible Design, links to Federal agencies with ADA responsibilities and information and updates on new ADA requirements.  How does this apply to us?  Here are some of the guidelines we need to be sure and follow at the college/university level.

Never include on any type of sensitive data on a form which can be sent electronically.  Sensitive data includes:

  • Personal information
  • Health information
  • Education records
  • Cardholder data
  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Political opinions
  • Religious beliefs
  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s License
  • Bank information
  • Student ID#
  • Digital Signature
  • Passwords
  • Parents legal surname prior to marriage
  • Pin number
  • Or a combination of any of these items which would lead to discovery of the student’s personal data.
  • And the list goes…Due to privacy issues, do not EVER include documents that allow the option to complete and electronically send anything which can be identified as sensitive data for either you or the person completing the form.
  • If you choose to include a document as a Word document, set the accessibility as a “READ ONLY” format.  This is a great option, particularly if the document is something that will need to be printed and completed due to sensitive data or required signatures.
  • When using Microsoft Word, you are able to export your document and add accessibility.
  • If you choose to use Issu for booklets, magazines, etc. you can do this but ONLY if there is an alternate for those who are unable to access the document using this format.  If using Issu, or any other form of electronic publishing, you MUST offer an unformatted, plain text version to give those using accessibility readers accessibility.
  • Do not include text within a graphic. For example:

ada accessibility image 1An accessibility reader will only see this as an image and will not identify what is written on the graphic.  This alternate shown below gives the reader the capability to read the text separately from the image.  In other words, give the graphic a caption that the screen reader can separate from the image so that it can be read.  Always include descriptive  “alt text” for your graphics.

  • ada accessibility image 2Do not use the image as a “call to action.” A call to action is a button or link that drives or takes the person to the next step which requires them to perform an action.  For example, in the trio of images above, Submitting a Proposal, Preparing a Budget & Questions, the images themselves do link to the same thing as the buttons but are not the only way to get to the action.  Ideally, the buttons would be what would prompt the person to move to the next step.  For best practice, always put the image above the “call to action.” If the image is what you are to click to reach the next step on your website, you are using it as a “call to action” and is not ADA accessible.  There should also be text below the image which IS the “call to action.”
  • Remember to use appropriate color combinations when using graphics, text, etc. on your website. You must use the appropriate color combination to allow for maximum level of contrast. A list of what is considered appropriate can be found here.
  • If using video on your website, make sure to enable the “closed captioning” ability for your video. If you video is on You Tube, you can add it.  If it is a personally developed video, you will need to type out a transcript of the video for accessibility readers to access.
  • As a general rule, avoid charts. Charts are inaccessible by any reader as they become images within a document.
  • Info graphics are great uses of images to relay your message but are not ADA accessible.  You can use them if you feel it is necessary but you must include a transcript of the details included in the info graphic which is ADA accessible.
  • Documents that are scanned are typically saved as an image only and are not ADA accessible.  Best practice is to type out the information from the document directly into a web page.
  • Any time you use a graphic image in WordPress, you are given the opportunity to give a name to that graphic.  On the same page, you are also given the opportunity to add “alt text.”  This is your opportunity to put a description of what the image contains.  Think of how you can describe the image to someone who would not be able to see the image.
To determine if your PDF is accessible, do a quick test to see if the lines of text are able to be “selected” line by line. If so, it is most likely accessible.  If you attempt to select a line of text and it selects all the text/document, then it is saved as an image and the reader will be unable to read the contents.  There are a couple of options; a)if you feel it needs to stay a PDF, you can also include a transcript of what is on the PDF as an alternate for the reader.  Or b) you can include the information on a web page, typed out and not in a document of any type.

http://brand.utk.edu for more detailed UTK branding info.

http://accessibility.utk.edu for more information about accessibility.

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