Access to Technology: An Online Tutorial
"Electronic and information technology" (referred to as simply "technology" in this publication) includes a broad range of products used to acquire, store, manipulate, and transmit information. These technologies include computers, software, websites, telephones, science lab equipment, MP3s, CDs, videos, photocopiers, fax machines, and calculators.
Many technology products are designed in such a way that they are inaccessible to people with some types of disabilities. For example, a person with a visual impairment may not be able to interpret telephone use instructions if they are presented only in a visual format; a person who is deaf cannot access content of a software program that is only presented aurally. Too often even those individuals with disabilities who have assistive technology, a computer, and Internet connection, still cannot make full use of technology because of the inaccessible features of hardware or software. In contrast, when universal design principles are employed as technology is created or updated, the resulting products are fully accessible to a broad audience, including assistive technology users.
This tutorial, created by DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology), describes how people with disabilities use computers, tells how technology can be made accessible, and lists resources for further study. To complete the tutorial, simply read the documents and freely view the video presentations online; you can also purchase the videos in DVD format from DO-IT. You will find it easier to link to the websites if you use the online version of this publication at www.uw.edu/doit/access-technology-online-tutorial.
How do individuals with disabilities access technology?
Read the publication and view the video Working Together: People with Disabilities and Computer Technology at www.uw.edu/doit/videos/index.php?vid=33.
View the video Access to Technology in the Workplace: In Our Own Words at www.uw.edu/doit/videos/index.php?vid=1.
Read the publication and view the video Working Together: Computer Technology and People with Mobility Impairments at www.uw.edu/doit/videos/index.php?vid=30.
Read the publication and view the video Working Together: Computers and People with Sensory Impairments at www.uw.edu/doit/videos/index.php?vid=31.
Read the publication and view the video Working Together: Computers and People with Learning Disabilities at www.uw.edu/doit/videos/index.php?vid=29.
What are specific types of technology and how can they be made accessible to people with disabilities?
Accessible Web Pages and other Internet Tools
Read the publication and view the video World Wide Access: Accessible Web Design at www.uw.edu/doit/videos/index.php?vid=35.
Read Section 508 Guide: Web-Based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications at www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-section-508-standards/guide-to-the-section-508-standards/web-based-intranet-and-internet-information-and-applications-1194-22.
Read the WebAIM Section 508 Checklist at www.webaim.org/standards/508/checklist.
Read the Checklist of Checkpoints for Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines at www.w3.org/TR/ATAG10/atag10-chktable.html.
Read Accessibility of Online Chat Programs at www.webaim.org/articles/archives/chats.
Accessible Telecommunications Products
Read Use of Telecommunications Products by People with Disabilities at www.uw.edu/doit/use-telecommunications-products-people-disabilities.
Read About the Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines at www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-telecommunications-act-guidelines.
Read Disabled Persons' Telecommunications Access—Section 255 at www.fcc.gov/guides/disabled-persons-telecommunications-access-section-255.
Read Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) at www.fcc.gov/guides/telecommunications-relay-service-trs.
Read Guide to Section 508 Standards: Telecommunications Products at www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-section-508-standards/guide-to-the-section-508-standards/telecommunications-products-1194-23.
Accessible Video and Multimedia Products
Read Creating Video and Multimedia Products that are Accessible to People with Sensory Impairments at www.uw.edu/doit/creating-video-and-multimedia-products-are-accessible-people-sensory-impairments.
Read Guide to Section 508 Standards: Video and Multimedia Products at www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-section-508-standards/guide-to-the-section-508-standards/video-and-multimedia-products-1194-24.
Read Emergency Video Programming to Persons with Hearing and Visual Disabilities at www.fcc.gov/guides/emergency-video-programming-accessibility-persons-hearing-and-visual-disabilities.
Read Closed Captioning at www.fcc.gov/guides/closed-captioning.
Read Designing Software that is Accessible to Individuals with Disabilities at www.uw.edu/doit/designing-software-accessible-individuals-disabilities.
Read Guide to Section 508 Standards: Software Applications and Operating Systems at www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-section-508-standards/guide-to-the-section-508-standards/software-applications-and-operating-systems-1194-21.
Review Software Accessibility Checklist at www.usdoj.gov/crt/508/archive/oldsoftware.html.
Read Software Accessibility at www-306.ibm.com/able/guidelines/software/accesssoftware.html.
Accessible Desktop and Portable Computers
Read Guide to Section 508 Standards: Desktop and Portable Computers at www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-section-508-standards/guide-to-the-section-508-standards/desktop-and-portable-computers-1194-26.
Accessible Self-Contained, Closed Products
Read Guide to Section 508 Standards: Self Contained, Closed Products at www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-section-508-standards/guide-to-the-section-508-standards/self-contained,-closed-products-1194-25.
What are examples of where accessible technology should be used?
Read the publication and view the video Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone at www.uw.edu/doit/videos/index.php?vid=22.
Read the publication and view the video Equal Access: Universal Design of Computer Labs at www.uw.edu/doit/videos/index.php?vid=12.
Read Equal Access: Universal Design of Libraries at www.uw.edu/doit/equal-access-universal-design-libraries.
What are examples of policies for procuring, using, and developing accessible technology?
Read Policy Governing World Wide Web Accessibility at UW - Madison at www.wisc.edu/policies/wwwap.php.
Read The Ohio State University Web Accessibility Standards at www.osu.edu/resources/web/accessibility/.
Read The Goal: Making University of Washington Web Sites Accessible to Everyone at www.uw.edu/computing/accessible.
Read Central Michigan University Web Policy at www.cmich.edu/web-policy/Pages/default.aspx.
Read Implementation Plan for Web Accessibility at www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/impl.
Read Accessible Web Design Policy Statements and Standards at www.uw.edu/computing/accessible/resources.html.
Read Oregon State University Information Technology Accessibility at www.oregonstate.edu/accessibility/ITaccess.
Read Library Services for People with Disabilities Policy at www.ala.org/ala/ascla/asclaissues/libraryservices.cfm.
Where can I find training and support regarding accessible technology, legal issues, and resources?
Good places to start include the following:
Technology and Universal Design at www.uw.edu/doit/technology-and-universal-design.
Equal Access to Software and Information at http://easi.cc/.
AccessIT: The National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education at www.uw.edu/accessit.
IT Access for Persons with Disabilities at www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104530.
For further information regarding accessible technology, consult www.uw.edu/doit/technology-and-universal-design. To order videos in DVD format from DO-IT, consult www.uw.edu/doit/do-it-videos-books-and-training-materials-order-form. To view video presentations online, consult www.uw.edu/doit/do-it-videos.
The specific DO-IT videos Computer Access: In Our Own Words and Access to Technology in the Workplace: In Our Own Words reinforce the basic content of this publication by sharing access challenges and solutions of individuals with disabilities. In the first presentation, you will hear the perspective of high school and college students with disabilities. In the second presentation, you will hear from employees.
DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs such as those in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. Primary funding for DO-IT is provided by the National Science Foundation, the State of Washington, and the U.S. Department of Education. DO-IT is a collaboration of UW Information Technology and the Colleges of Engineering and Education at the University of Washington.
Grants and gifts fund DO-IT publications, videos, and programs to support the academic and career success of people with disabilities. Contribute today by sending a check to DO-IT, Box 354842, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-4842.
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This publication is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #9800324. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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