Digital Accessibility

Our Collective Commitment

The university is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have equal, available, and reliable access to the university’s services, digital content, and technologies. Our promise extends to all aspects of accessibility, encompassing both technology and our people. The CU Denver community is collectively responsible for ensuring that the technologies we choose, use, and create are fully accessible, in alignment with the requirements of the bill. This commitment underscores our dedication to fostering an inclusive and accessible environment for all members of our campus community.

What is Digital Accessibility?

Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, program, service, resource, or environment is available to a given user. Digital accessibility refers to the practice of designing digital products, such as websites, applications and documents, so that people with disabilities can use them effectively. This includes designing interfaces that can be navigated using assistive technologies like screen readers, ensuring content is perceivable by those with visual impairments, providing alternatives for audio and video content, and making interfaces operable for those with mobility impairments. The goal of digital accessibility is to ensure that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can access and use digital content and services.

What is Accessible Technology?

Accessible technology refers to technology that is designed to be usable by all individuals, including those with disabilities. This includes electronic documents, websites, videos, software applications, and hardware devices that can be effectively used by students, faculty, staff, and visitors with disabilities.

People who interact with technology are diverse and have varying characteristics. It cannot be assumed that all users are using a traditional monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Consider the following:

  • Individuals who are blind may use screen readers or refreshable Braille devices for output.
  • Those with learning disabilities like dyslexia may use Text-to-Speech (TTS) for audible output.
  • People with low vision may utilize screen magnification software.
  • Individuals with fine motor impairments may rely on keyboard commands, speech recognition, or other assistive technologies.
  • Deaf or hard of hearing individuals require captions for video and transcriptions for audio content.
  • Users may access content on mobile devices, which come with various screen sizes and user interfaces.

Accessible technology caters to all these users and many more.

Accessibility Guidelines

CU Denver values diverse experiences and perspectives and strives to fully include everyone who engages with the university. Inaccessible information technology (IT) negatively impacts people with a variety of disabilities, including mobility/orthopedic impairments, sensory impairments, specific learning disabilities, attention deficits, autism spectrum disorders, speech impairments, health impairments, and psychiatric conditions.

The university's commitment to equal access to IT has been more formally stated through the publication of an IT Digital Accessibility Policy. The policy looks to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Level AA for guidance in meeting its IT accessibility commitments.

In addition to the policy, the Office of Information Technology maintains an IT Accessibility Scorecard which provides specific techniques and testing methods to assist the campus community including web designers, developers, content creators, and purchasing agents, in meeting the policy guidelines when creating and procuring IT.

Additional Resources

Microsoft Accessibility Fundamentals

Developed by Microsoft, these trainings offer insight on how to create accessible materials with Microsoft 365 products.

Section 508

This site from the U.S. Access Board features the full text of the Section 508 legislation, the Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards and accompanying tutorials, and the latest draft of the soon-to-be-updated standards.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG)

This is the definitive set of web accessibility guidelines, from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind)

Offers a wealth of helpful resources, including an introductory tutorial, articles for audiences of all levels of expertise, a blog, and an active discussion list.

IMS Global Learning Consortium Accessibility Specification

IMS is working on an AccessForAll Meta-data Specification, which is intended to make it possible to identify resources that match a user’s stated preferences or needs. This builds on work by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. IMS has also developed a set of Guidelines for Developing Accessible Learning Applications.

DO-IT Knowledge Base

Search hundreds of articles with answers to common questions, case studies, and promising practices regarding accessibility of technology, college, graduate school, and careers for individuals with disabilities.

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