Accessibility ensures that all people—regardless of ability—can interact with the information or services you provide.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights:
Accessible means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability. Although this might not result in identical ease of use compared to that of persons without disabilities, it still must ensure equal opportunity to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology and equal treatment in the use of such technology.
Digital accessibility ensures everyone can perceive, understand, navigate and interact with information on the internet, regardless of ability. At Case Western Reserve University, this means our websites, social media accounts, applications and content available online—including images, videos and documents—need to meet specific guidelines relating to how elements look, sound and interact.
Accessible online content provides an equal experience for those with visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive and neurological disabilities or impairments. Often, people using the web or web applications need to use assistive devices, so our websites and other online content must be built properly for those devices to access all the information correctly.
But accessibility makes for a better experience for everyone. An accessible and flexible website, for example, will help people with slow internet connections, those with temporary injuries such as a broken arm, or older adults.
The standards for web accessibility apply to everything we create online, including elements that users do not directly see, hear or interact with. No matter your role, you can play a part in ensuring we create a campus culture that promotes equal access to all members of our community.