Talking About Accessibility

If there is one thing that can bring together faculty, staff, students and administrators on a college campus, it could be our love for higher education acronyms. 

“Are you going to the meeting in TUC today? CeEL and CECH will be talking about the new LMS and how it may impact the upcoming HLC visit.” 
“I’m a member of NASPA and ACPA but I really prefer the SJTI conference” 

Talking about electronic and information technology accessibility opens up yet another can of alphabet soup on campus – would you care to take a look at the EIT procedure for the RFP based on the latest WCAG standards recommended by the DOJ?

Frequently Used Terms and Phrases

Here are some of the terms and phrases we think are most useful as you begin:

  • Accessible: When 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
  • Electronic and information technology (EIT): Websites, online learning, technology resources, software, applications, and services used by the university to make information and content available to faculty, staff, students, prospective students, guests, and visitors. EIT Accessibility, or eAccessibility, refers to the accessibility of EIT. 
  • People First Language: A way to put the person before the disability. For example, instead of saying, “disabled” or “handicapped”, say, “a person with a disability”. Instead of saying “wheelchair bound”, say, “a person who uses a wheelchair”. 
  • Universal Design: the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.
  • WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: A stable, referenceable technical standard with 12 guidelines and testable success criteria for the accessibility of websites and online materials. The WCAG 2.0 AA standards are the criteria that the university has chosen to aim for in the creation and maintenance of our online content 

As you begin your journey to learn more about eAccessibility, we encourage you to use this page as a reference point. And remember, small steps are the best way to learn and avoid becoming overwhelmed. 

Written for the Accessibility Network by the Interim EIT Coordinator and Director in Student Affairs, Heidi Pettyjohn.