Web and Online Accessibility

See the Kutztown University Guidelines to assist in taking steps to improve accessibility online:

Accessibility Guidelines for Electronic and Information Technology Access at Kutztown University of PA

Kutztown University of PA is committed to achieving equal educational opportunity and participation for persons with disabilities. This commitment extends to providing equal access to information technology.  

The Electronic and Information Technology Access Task Force recommends four areas to focus on to begin to increase accessibility online:

1   PDFs - are generally inaccessible to a screen reader (software used by visually impaired or other print disabled individuals to read) because they are a series of images. We recommend that PDF files never be offered by themselves, but rather in combination with other formats, such as Word documents, that present the same information in ways that are more widely accessible.

To convert to another accessible format using Adobe Acrobat:

Use Adobe Acrobat Pro- open document in PRO
Go to File 
Save as Other in Word
Can choose docx or doc

Faculty or staff can have Adobe Acrobat Pro installed at no cost through the IT Help Center.

For further information on PDFs

2. Caption videos - videos should be captioned so that deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may have access. It is recommended that when choosing videos for classes, use videos from "Films on Demand" found on the Rohrbach Library web site. This video shows how it works.

There are free online tools that support captioning. Amara, in particular, provides a lot of instruction, including videos that walk users through each step of the process.

YouTube offers automatic captioning, although it's usually not 100% accurate.

3.  Color Contrast - Choose colors with high contrast. For KU web pages consult colors website.

For examples of high contrast.

Or, download free software.

4. Add alternate text to images: If an image is communicating something and adds meaning to your document, it should include text for those who aren't able to see it, stating what the image is trying to convey. This accessibility feature has been built into the KU website by University Relations.

This can be accomplished by adding text to the appropriate box when loading a picture via a content management system; in pages whose source code you edit directly (e.g., a personal faculty site) please be sure to include the alt attribute with each img tag. See also Text Alternatives.

Why do we need guidelines for accessibility? 

  1. To be in compliance with the law: Laws that impact accessibility:
    1. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires all employers and organizations receiving federal funds-including most universities-to provide people with disabilities equal access to information, programs, services and activities.
    2. The 1998 Amendment to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act does not apply directly to universities, but it does mandate specific conditions for Internet and web accessibility that are used as guidelines in designing and creating federal agency web sites.
    3. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 applies the same general principle as Section 504-equal opportunity to participate in programs, activities and services-but extends the reach to private organizations and any state or local entities not covered under Section 504.
    4. Other laws, including Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, may also impact web-based instruction, and how institutions may use federal monies.
    5. PA Standards The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has chosen to follow Section 508 Web Accessibility Standards set forth by the Federal Government. As of June 30, 2001, all agencies under the Governor's jurisdiction were required to ensure web sites (both existing and in development) comply with the above accessibility guidelines. 
  2. It's the Right Thing to Do Information technology provides access to as many people as possible. It is only right, then, that the university community adapts or removes barriers that keep some from gaining access.

Benefits of Adhering to Guidelines

Following standards, acquiring appropriate hardware and software, and improving the technical environment helps the university to:

  • Improve access and services to students, staff, faculty, and visitors with disabilities.
  • Make electronic information accessible to the widest possible audience.
  • Ensure that individuals have access to information technology associated with administration and services, courses of instruction, departmental programs, and university-sponsored activities.


View a video on what campus leaders have to say about accessibility:

 The University of Washington - links about accessible technology:

See this information for an overview of how people with disabilities use the web.

White paper on accessibility. 

Web AIM - Constructing a POUR Web site 

Choose films from "Films on Demand" through the Rohrbach Library. They have a transcript feature. This video shows how it works

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Section 508 Technical Standards

Web AIM newsletter

EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information): Organization that sponsors webinars, many of them free of charge. Webinars are listed by month. 

PDFs - See this link to learn alternatives to PDFs to increase accessibility. 

Color Contrast Analyzer

The following are links to recent court settlements involving access to electronic technology and articles:
Penn State University and National Federation of the Blind

Louisiana Tech University (Department of Justice). Settlement Agreement

South Carolina Technical College System (Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights)  Resolution  Letter | Agreement

Joint Dear Colleague Letter: Electronic Book Readers (Departments of Justice & Education)


Accessible Instructional Materials Commission Report

Article from Inside Higher Education on the need for faculty to contribute to online accessibility

March 2014 - Electronic & Information Technology Access Task Force