universal-design-center

Document Learning Tools

Document Learning ToolsThis page contains a compiled list of tools that support the creation and assessment of universally designed materials and tools for learning and testing. Some tools listed are available to download as extensions, toolbar for browsers,  stand-alone applications or as online web applications.  Departmental technical assistance may be required to install these tools.  

 

Four-Point Accessibility Evaluation

1. Is the font styling easy to read? Is the text easy to read? 

Explanation: If the text displayed on the page is difficult to read, this could be a problem for individuals with various visual impairments. Is the color used in the software or online product difficult to read? Visit Color Contrast accordion tab below.

2. Is the font color easy to read? Can you read the text clearly against the background? Does color mean anything that isn’t conveyed another way, for example, error messages in red?

Explanation: If the color displayed is difficult to see, there may be a problem with the color combinations used on the page. The color combinations used on the page may cause individuals with visual impairments difficulties in understanding information on the page.  Visit Color Contrast accordion tab below.

3. Can a user "tab" through the functions to navigate to all the button, links, form fields, and features on the page/screen?

Explanation: For this test, you are looking to verify that all functions on the page can be accessed without using the computer mouse. For individuals with physical impairments, it is critical that information can be accessed through other methods instead of the mouse. Visit Keyboard Accessibility page. 

4. Can a user make the font bigger without distorting the text? Use “Ctrl +” and “Ctrl -” on a keyboard, or the accessibility features or gestures on your mobile device.

Explanation: When you make the screen smaller or larger (scaled up to 200%), the text on the screen should continue to be displayed without it being cut off or partially visible. Visit Semantic Requirements Resizable Text and W3C Resize Text.

Universal Design Perspectives contain videos created by W3C that demonstrate different ways universal design and accessibility affects everyone. They illustrate how people with disabilities, learning styles, and preferences benefit from accessibility and universal design in their everyday life.

Color Contrast

Color can play a significant role in the overall readability of a document. First, use of neon or pastel colors makes content challenging to read with someone who has low vision and/or a degree of color blindness. Additionally, the viewer will be placing a constant strain on the eyes to read the content. Secondly, if colors are used to place importance on instructional materials i.e. which section is highlighted in red, captions or alternative text should be included to note the significance of the colors.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Level AA requires a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for regular sized text (12 or 14 pt. font) and 3:1 for large text (18 pt. font).

Link Color Contrast Checker

For optimal usability and accessibility, links should be underlined. If links are not underlined by default, they may be reliant on color and may fail WCAG 2 Level A. To address this color reliance, you must have a 3:1 contrast ratio between link text color and the surrounding body text color.


  • Link text should clearly identify the target of each link. Good link text should not be overly general.
    • Make sense when read out of context.
    • Describe the destination (document name, website).
    • Be unique for unique destinations.
    • Do not use click here or read more or continue.
    • Do not use different link text to refer to the same resource.
    • Do not to use the same link text to refer to different resources.
  • Best practice is to bold or underline links.
  • Do not use color links as the only method to convey important information.
  • Tab order should read from the upper left to the lower right, and make sense to both sighted and visually impaired users.

Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker

The Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker scans the document for any potential errors or warnings and provides helpful tips to remedy the issues. The Accessibility Checker scan is helpful to identify inaccessible documents while they are being developed. Click File, then Check for Issues and select the Check Accessibility from the drop-down menu. The Accessibility Checker results can be categorized by the impact on the viewer: 

  • Errors: this content will be very difficult or inaccessible to people with disabilities to view
    • Example: missing alt text
  • Warnings: this content, in most cases, will be difficult for people with disabilities to view
    • Example: objects not inline
  • Tips: this content is available to people with disabilities, however better organization is suggested
    • Example: skipping headings from H1 to H3

When the scan is complete, the results will display on the screen. Click on each error and the document will jump to indicate exactly where the error on the page is occurring. Complete any missing alternative texts, misalignments, headings etc. All errors should be resolved before proceeding.

Accessibility Checker Results list

Learn more about Rules for Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker.

To assess the level of accessibility within information and communication technology content (e.g., documents, videos, etc.), conducting accessibility evaluations is crucial. Through accessibility evaluations, we can bring to light potential accessibility barriers that could affect individuals with disabilities and find methods to reserve these barriers. Conduct Microsoft Office Accessibility Evaluations.

PDF Accessibility Checker

Run a full check on your document in order to see what errors/issues in Acrobat flags. The report helps you identify potential issues and provide tips on how to fix them. Accessibility Tool Pane then Full Check.

To assess the level of accessibility within information and communication technology content (e.g., documents, videos, etc.), conducting accessibility evaluations is crucial. Through accessibility evaluations, we can bring to light potential accessibility barriers that could affect individuals with disabilities and find methods to reserve these barriers. Conduct Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Evaluations.

Step 1: If this is your first time set up Adobe Acrobat software, select Tools Tab, Add Action Wizard and Accessibility

Step 2: Run the Accessibility Full Check

 

Step 3: Start Checking

Step 4: Accessibility Check Results. 

The checker will identify any accessibility passes, failure and it will also remind you to conduct manual or visual checks on items too. (E.g. check color contrast). If you have a failure, you can right click on the item and you can get Adobe to fix your error or you can go to the link that will take you to adobe website that further explains the problem.

Canvas Accessibility Checker

The learning management system, Canvas, has a feature embedded to check for accessibility. This feature checks accessibility in tables, headings, alternative text, color contrast and links.

Ally for Canvas

Ally is a service that focuses on making digital course content more accessible. It provides guidance to faculty on how to improve the accessibility of their content, and automatically provides students with more accessible alternative formats.

Ally for Canvas

Ally for Canvas

Ally is a service that focuses on making digital course content more accessible. It provides guidance to faculty on how to improve the accessibility of their content, and automatically provides students with more accessible alternative formats.

Learn more about Ally for Canvas

Best Practices for Describing Images

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud software is now available for use (at no additional charge) on all faculty and staff university-owned computers, labs and classroom devices, and for all students. Please note that this deployment of Adobe software is not available for use on personally-owned faculty and staff devices at this time.

All faculty and staff university-owned computers will continue to receive Acrobat Pro automatically. Faculty and staff who recently purchased Adobe Creative Cloud products should contact the IT Help Center, instead of following the self-service instructions.  Visit the Adobe Creative Cloud for Faculty & Staff page for more information. 

 

CSUN IT Software

Captioning

Captions allow people who do not have access to sound to engage with video and audio content. Captioning videos help students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing participate in classwork involving videos. Captioning is part of the Accessible Technology Initiative because videos have become an integral way to share information with students, faculty, staff, and visitors. 

To assess the level of accessibility within information and communication technology content (e.g., documents, videos, etc.), conducting accessibility evaluations is crucial. Through accessibility evaluations, we can bring to light potential accessibility barriers that could affect individuals with disabilities and find methods to reserve these barriers. Multimedia Accessibility Evaluations.

Screen Readers

Screen readers are a form of assistive technology (AT) software that enables access to a computer, and all the things a computer does, by attempting to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the computer screen using text-to-speech. Screen readers can only access and process live text. 

Screen Readers and Resources
ToolType Open Source or Commercial?DescriptionLink to download/access 

ChromeVox

Browser Extension 

Open Source

The ChromeVox is a screen reader extension to Chrome that brings the speed, versatility, and security of Chrome to visually impaired users.

Add ChromeVox Extension to Chrome 

FireVox

Browser Extension 

Open Source

The FireVox is a screen reader extension for Firefox that brings the speed, versatility, and security of Firefox to visually impaired users.

Add FireVox to Firefox 

JAWS Screen Reader

Standalone Application 

Commercial

JAWS by Freedom Scientific is the most popular screen reader software that provides speech and braille output to allow users with low vision from accessing content on a PC. This application is a paid software but a free trial version is available that allows users access to a 30-minute demo mode. 

JAWS Free Trial 

Natural Reader

Standalone application and Online Application 

Open Source

Text to speech program that will read text out load with natural sounding voices. This product is available as a free online web application and a stand alone downloadable application. A paid version is also available that provides additional services and features. 

Natural Reader Website Tool

Download the Free Natural Reader for Windows

Download the Free Natural Reader for Mac

NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA)

Standalone Application 

Open Source

Free screen reader that allows users with no vision to access content on PC. It reads text and information on a screen in a "computerized voice" and can convert text into braille. 

Download NVDA

TalkBack (Android)

SoftwareOpen Source and Commerical

Talkback is a screen reader for Android devices. This software provides audio and vibration feedback. The Select to Speak feature can read or describe a highlighted item. VoiceOver has image recongition that can describe an image and read text within an image. The Switch Access feature allows people to navigate the device with a switch.

Getting Started with TalkBack
VoiceOver (Apple)SoftwareOpen Source

VoiceOver is a screen reading software for Apple devices. It gives people auditory descriptions of the content that appears on screen. Gestures can be customized and be used as screen reader shortcuts. Voiceover also supports braille keyboard.

Getting Started with VoiceOver