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Resources: Accessibility

Most estimates indicate that anywhere from 5% to 20% of the United States population has some kind of disability that affects their ability to access information on the Internet. The major types of disabilities include:

  • Vision: blindness, low vision, color blindness
  • Hearing: deafness
  • Motor: limited motor control, inability to use a mouse
  • Cognitive: learning disabilities, reading difficulties

Each disability requires simple modifications to web content in order to make it accessible. The majority of these requirements are handled in the code and do not have a negative effect on the design of a web site or system. In fact, accessibility modifications tend to make sites easier to use for all. To learn more about web accessibility, please view the resources listed below.

Indiana University

The Adaptive Technology Centers
The Adaptive Technology Centers, located on the Bloomington and IUPUI campuses, offer technology-based solutions through a variety of programs designed to assist disabled students at Indiana University. The Bloomington center is located in the Main Library room 101 (812-856-4112) and the IUPUI center is located in the Informatics and Communications Technology Complex room 131 (317-274-4580).

Adaptive Educational Services at IUPUI
Adaptive Services offers technology-based solutions through a variety of programs designed to assist disabled students at IUPUI.

Accessibility Guidelines for IU Web Pages
Indiana University web accessibility guidelines based on Section 508 and the WCAG.

Guidelines & Standards

The Access Board: Section 508
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires access to electronic and information technology procured by Federal agencies. The Access Board developed accessibility standards for the various technologies covered by the law. This page includes links concerning the standards, technical assistance, and resources.

Section 508: The Road to Accessibility
Government website providing resources on accessibility including information on the laws, trainings, forums, events, frequently asked questions, training, and accessibility products.

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
A World Wide Web Consortium resource site for web accessibility including information on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), checklists, techniques, training, evaluation and repair tools, alternative browsers, and many other resources.

Non-Profit Organizations

The goal of Web Accessibility In Mind (WebAIM) is to improve accessibility to online learning opportunities for all people.

AWARE Center
The mission of Accessible Web Authoring Resources and Education (AWARE) is to serve as a central resource for web authors for learning about web accessibility.

WorldEnable is an Internet accessibility initiative in support of the international goals of equalizing opportunities for, by, and with persons with disabilities.

Corporate Accessibility Sites

IBM Accessibility Center
An IBM Center created to apply research technologies to solve problems experienced by people with disabilities and focus on providing access to information by virtually anyone under virtually any circumstances.

Apple - Special Needs
Apple website showcasing accessibility products for persons with vision, hearing, motor, literacy, learning, language, and communication personal computer needs.

Microsoft Accessibility
Microsoft website focused on enabling people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential by building products that are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

Evaluation Tools - Accessibility Resources
Links to information on Web accessibility, and resources for building sites that are accessible to all users regardless of disability.

Evaluation, Repair, and Transformation Tools for Web Content Accessibility
This is a collection of information about evaluation, repair, and transformation tools useful for Web content developers and Web users who wish to make the Web more accessible.

WebAIM - Products and Tools
This section of the WebAIM site contains descriptions and reviews of various products and tools related to Web accessibility, ranging from educational materials (such as books and CD-ROMs) to software applications (such as accessibility "validators," HTML authoring tools, Web browsers, and assistive devices for people with disabilities).

Other Helpful Tools

WebAIM - Screen Reader Simulation
This simulation will help you to understand what it is like for a person with visual impairments to access the Internet using a software program called a "screen reader."

Colorfield Insight
Colorfield Insight is a Photoshop plug-in that allows designers to predict image legibility for color deficient viewers by accurately simulating color blindness.

Vischeck is a way of showing you what things look like to someone who is colorblind. You can try Vischeck online- either run Vischeck on your own image files or run Vischeck on a web page. You can also download programs to let you run it on your own computer.

Adaptive Technology

Adaptive Technology Resource Center
The Adaptive Technology Resource Center advances information technology that is accessible to all; through research, development, education, proactive design consultation and direct service. - Assistive Technologies Resource List
These are some of the devices and applications that help people with disabilities use their computers and access the web. This list is not exhaustive.

Trace Research and Development Center - Selected Resources About Assistive Technology
The following is a compilation of resources about assistive technology, including product databases, training courses, research and development centers, and AT-related organizations that individual Trace Center staff have found particularly useful.

Recommended Books

Slating, J. and Rush, S. (2002). Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone.
Addresses the need to make web sites usable for people with disabilities, and outlines design techniques and testing methods for complying with U.S. federal accessibility standards.

Thatcher, J. (2003). Constructing Accessible Websites.
Provides practical techniques for developing completely accessible web sites with a quick reference guide to accessible web site design. For web professionals creating accessible web sites or updating existing sites to make them accessible.

Paciello, M. (2000). Web Accessibility for People With Disabilities.
Provides Web authors with specific instructions for building accessible pages - right down to the HTML code.