Teaching Commons > Teaching Guides > Technology > Accessibility
Accessibility refers to the ability of people with disabilities to access or use a product or service. It is strongly related to the concept of universal design, which is the process of making products and services accessible to all people, regardless of disability. For more on the Universal Design for Learning framework, see
Frameworks & Taxonomies of Learning.
These principles and features can help ensure you create documents that are
The University of Washington has short and focused resources for
creating accessible documents. See "Checking Microsoft Office for Accessibility” and “Checking PDFs for Accessibility.” The National Center on Disability and Access to Education has guides for making documents in many programs (including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) more accessible. See
Document Accessibility Cheatsheets for the guides.
In order to optimize accessibility for people with auditory disabilities,
web multimedia should include both captions and a transcript, according to WebAIM, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to expanding web accessibility since 1999.
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) notes that
captions are not only essential for people who are deaf or have difficulty hearing, but also aid people who:
add captions to videos in Panopto and also
enable captions in Zoom.
Transcripts not only helps users who are deaf or have difficult hearing but also aid people who:
generate transcripts in Panopto and also
generate transcripts in Zoom.
D2L has some built in features to help instructors to ensure their D2L content is accessible. To learn more, see
D2L Accessibility Checker.