Scholars and practitioners agree that creating course materials (for both online and face-to-face delivery) that are accessible for those with disabilities will make the user experience better for all users. However, accessibility issues for students with disabilities is wrapped up in a number of layers that make it overwhelming for instructors to get started.
Understanding accessibility also means that as a technical and professional writer you will be better positioned to help your organization understand and implement an accessibility plan for their online presence.
Accessibility is a process, not a checklist
The strategies and practices offered in this website are not exhaustive but a place to begin considering accessibility in course design and within technical and professional communication practices.
Accessibility is an ongoing practice. We take actions today, and we will continue to alter our practices as technology changes and access methods alter. We must stay vigilant regarding how our students access information and avoid the urge to take the practical applications offered in this site and turn them into a checklist that can be completed.
Taking on new design practices can feel overwhelming, but accessibility does not need to be tackled all at once. Even one alteration, one action taken, creates more access. One action and then another. Return to the site as you need and as time permits to further develop your accessibility tools and strategies.
How to use this site
“General Course ” this section of the website offers actions to address accessibility in these four information formats. These are the most commonly used delivery formats for course materials. Many software programs have accessibility strategies embedded in their design tools. This site offers some examples of how to begin to use these features but does not cover all of the options. As you continue to incorporate accessibility into your course design process, we hope you will also continue to investigate other accessibility features.
“Teaching Accessibility” offers ideas for incorporating accessibility into the teaching of technical communication practices. As you are learning to consider diverse access in your practices, it is important to give future technical communication practitioners, scholars, and researchers the same opportunity. Again, this list is not exhaustive but a place to begin.
“Resources” offers a short list of places to investigate accessibility further. There are sources to help with practices including more videos and more suggestions for applications. There are resources that offer information on the legal policies that inform accessibility practices.