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UCLA Center for Accessible Education

Creating documents and other materials with all students in mind

Why do I have to worry about accessibility if a student has accommodations?

UCLA is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible educational experience for allstudents. Simply put, accommodations and accessibility are not the same.

The Meaning of "Accessible"

"Accessible" means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability. This is important to keep in mind when creating instructional content such as documents.

As an instructor in higher education, what do I need to know about accessible instructional content?

When creating content, there are a few basic steps that should be followed in order to ensure your content is accessible. The core steps needed for accessibility are the same regardless of whether your document is in HTML, Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, or another document format:

  • Use headings
  • Use lists
  • Use meaningful hyperlinks
  • Add alternate text to images
  • Identify document language
  • Use tables wisely
  • Understand how to export from one format to another

I don't know how to create accessible content. What resources are available?

Accessible Documents & Materials

Faculty will...

  • Be timely. Adopt accessible textbooks and other instructional materials as early as possible prior to the start of the quarter
  • Be proactive. Select publishers and vendors who are committed to accessibility
  • Be inclusive. Utilize Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) principles to maximize the learning of students with a wide range of characteristics
  • Consider accessibility at the start. Create instructional materials that are readily accessible to all students.
    • Documents – readable and selectable text, alternate text for images, adequate color contrast, and a structured layout that assistive technology (i.e. screen reader) can navigate
    • Videos - captioned
    • Audio files - transcripts of audio

CAE will...

  • Have adequate time to produce a student-requested textbook in an alternate format such as Braille
  • Be a resource for faculty members and connect them to appropriate resources.
  • Provide Universal Design resources to faculty who would like to learn more about incorporating UDI principles
  • Be an educational resource for faculty to ensure students have timely access to materials.
  • Refer faculty to other resources such as UCLA’s Disabilities and Computing Program (DCP)