The Need For Electronic Accessibility

The Internet provides everyone quick and easy access to information, and it offers people with disabilities a way to obtain information without having to rely on others for assistance. Yet navigating web sites and utilizing web-based tools can be difficult, sometimes impossible, for people with disabilities.

The University of California Information Technology Accessibility Policy requires compliance with the WCAG 2.0 level AA standards for all web-base information.

A significant part of the population lives with some sort of visual or hearing impairment and these can make accessing content on websites difficult, if not impossible. As we create content for online platforms, it is important that we be aware of need to create inclusive, accessible content on our websites.

The Spectrum of Ability

Visual: Blind, low-vision, color-blind, forgotten reading glasses

Hearing: Deafness, hard-of-hearing, limited range hearing, no earbuds

Cognitive: Learning disabilities, distractibility, tired

Motor: Slower response time, limited fine motor control, on a bumpy vehicle

Disabilities can be permanent, temporary or situational. Providing for accessibility, in all its forms, benefits everyone.

UCOP's Web Accessibility Initiative

Having a presentable website has become the cornerstone of digital marketing. While many websites are primarily content driven, oftentimes it is desired to decorate the site in order to attract more attention from visitors. However designing a site without the user in mind can lead to many issues in terms of usability and accessibility.

In order to promote good web practices and accessibility by design, UCOP has put together a comprehensive Electronic Accessibility site that outlines accessible website principles, standards, initiatives, names resources, and highlights tools. You can also view UCOP's "What you can do for accessibility" guide. 

Accessibility Resources

There are a variety of trainings available for University of California employees that address a wide range of accessibility topics. Please note that these trainings are hosted on external websites and may be subject to change without notice.

Creating Accessible PDFs

The UC Office of the President’s Information Technology unit has collected information about how to make accessible PDfs, including step-by-step guides and online training courses.

Visit the UCOP accessible documents and PDFs page.

Most content should be posted as a web page that can be easily updated, rather than as a PDF. This applies to guidelines, general program descriptions, information that gets updated frequently, and sometimes reports. Content that may need to be posted as a PDF includes a signed/dated memo, a formal policy, or a report that is printed.

PDFs may also be used as supporting documents, so long as the information that appears in the PDF is completely represented on the website itself.

Linked In Learning

Accessibility for Web Design

Taught by accessibility and inclusive design leader Derek Featherstone, this class teaches practical accessibility techniques. While the full class is intended for individuals who design sites, the first two sections provide informative perspectives on why accessibility is important.

Visit the course at Linkedin Learning Accessibility for Web Design

UC Learning Center Courses

The UC Learning Center has more than two dozen courses hosted by Siteimprove that address various aspects of web accessibility. Topics include:

  • Reasons to Make Accessibility a Priority
  • Accessibility Fundamentals
  • Creating accessible documents
  • Introduction to Accessible Multimedia
  • And much more

These can be accessed by going to the UC Learning Center and typing “siteimprove” or “accessibility” in the search bar. Or, they can be found directly within the Siteimprove tool, for more information see the Siteimprove page on accessibility

W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG2 & 3)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is responsible to the creation of the international standards to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. These are known as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The overview of current WCAG 2 standards, as well as the development of WCAG 3 are available on their website. An accessibility fundamentals overview is also available on their website.