Mark Stoner, Communication Studies
California State University, Sacramento
Some Useful Resources to Enhance Web Page and Instructional Material Accessibility

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CSUS Office of Services to Students With Disabilities
Services to Students with Disabilities (SSWD) offers a wide range of support services and accommodations to students
 in order to ensure equal access and opportunity to pursue their educational goals.

CSU Professional Development for Accessible Technology

This site is a project of the Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) of the California State University system.  The mission of the ATI is for the CSU system
of universities to excel and provide national leadership in using technology that is fully accessible through universal design to its students, faculty, staff
and the general public.

Assistive Technologies Inventory

These technologies have been used by students when building up strategies to make working with on-line materials easier and quicker.

Accessibility Standards and Page Validators

    Cynthia Says

Cynthia is a web content accessibility validation solution designed to identify errors in design related to Section 508 standards and the WCAG guidelines. The main purpose of this portal is to educate web site developers in the development Web Based content that is accessible to all.  I find the validation reports to be clear and useful.

    WAVE  (Web Accessiblity Versatile Evaluator)  Developed at Temple University for the Pennsylvania Iniative on Assistive

Technology, this site provides a service similar to the WebXACT online validator.  I find the WAVE page evaluator to be a bit  less complex and less technically oriented than Bobby, and the results more easily understood.  WAVE puts more emphasis on  human judgement  regarding actual accessiblity than does WebXACT.

    A-Prompt Accessibility Verifier

A-Prompt (Accessibility Prompt) is a software tool designed to improve the usability of HTML documents by evaluating Web pages for accessibility barriers and then providing developers with a fast and easy way to make the  necessary repairs.  You can download the application to your computer without charge.

The software is made available through the joint efforts of the University of Toronto's Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) and the TRACE Center at the University of Wisconsin.  This works from your desktop and serves to guide and correct your design as you go.

    Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

 This site explains accessiblity standards--what the validators above are looking for. The site is a trove of the best information about accessibility.  It provides links to all sorts of resources for those trying to make their pages accessible; it also provides links and information you can give to others who are disabled themselves.  Reading this site is like taking a course on accessiblity--I highly recommend it.

Practical Advice on Accessible Web Design

Universal Design of Instruction: Definition, Principles, and Examples

For an interesting video on the topic, see:

Equal Access: Universal Design of Instruction

Other Resources:

    EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information)

On-line courses in designing accessible web pages. I took the basic course and found it to be worth the investment.  This site also offers numerous other resources such as weekly  web casts of presentations or interviews with experts in accessible design.  This site is a basic resource that will keep you well informed regarding what is going on nationally regarding accessibility issues and good practices.

    Web Design Group Accessibility Pages

This is a brief, and useful discussion of the topics: reasons why we should write accessible pages; accessibility tips, and myths about accessibility.  I think this page is definitely worth a visit; especially for those relatively new to the concept of accessibility.

    IMS Guidelines for Developing Accessible Learning Applications

 The guidelines developed by the IMS Accessibility Project Group and presented in this document, will provide a framework for the distributed learning community. This framework will highlight existing solutions, discuss the opportunities and strategies for their implementation and will identify areas where further development and innovation are required to ensure education that is truly accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Using Rich Media in Page Design

The National Center for Accessible Media, is a collection of resources for developers and users interested in ways to make rich media accessible to people with disabilities.  See a Showcase of rich media uses, authoring tools, and tutorials on rich media design and use.  A very important resource if you want or need media elements in your pages such as streaming video, animations, slideshows, tickers, etc.


    Thunder Page Reader
Download the Thunder ScreenReader talking software and your  XP or Vista computer will be immediately usable by someone who can’t see to read the screen. You will have a talking computer which will speak as you press keys and read out to you what is on the screen.

LecShare Pro helps you create accessible, narrated presentations from Microsoft PowerPoint. Easily record or import audio into your presentation and export it to a number of different formats.  (Copies available in the Center for Teaching and Learning)

View a recent presentation by Norm Coombs and Greg Kraus on what LecShare does.  Best viewed using Internet Explorer 6 or 7,

Invisible Disablities: Learning Disability

Many more of our students experience learning disabilities than physical, visual or auditory ones.  Resources that help us understand and meet the needs of these students who are increasingly confronted with text-based
learning contexts on the web are useful resources.