Access for All: Distressing Design

Published: Feb. 27, 2017

Woman looking at a website with overly flashy imagery on a laptop.Caitlin’s head throbbed as she strained to take in all the images and accompanying text in the infographics. Ever since experiencing a traumatic brain injury while snowboarding, Caitlin would frequently develop migraines when reading for her classes or encountering inaccessible websites with excessive, flashy imagery and poor layout. The pain would become so unbearable that she would often have to skip the reading.

Like those with dyslexia or vision loss, Caitlin could use text-to-speech software to listen to most of her required reading. In fact, some students find that using text-to-speech software to listen to text while simultaneously reading the text increases their comprehension. But this can only happen if the content is text-based and accessible by a screen reader. When required reading isn’t accessible in this way, Caitlin and others who use assistive technologies are at a distinct disadvantage when compared to their classmates.

Whether you’re creating a website, a PDF, an online exam, or even just a promotional email, make sure your content is text-based, has alt tags and doesn’t just rely on images to convey your message. The Resources section of the Accessible Technology website includes resources to help you develop accessible websites, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and much more.

Learn how you can help create accessible materials that make our campus an accessible campus environment by visiting the Accessible Technology website.