Chapter 5.4: Campus environment accessibility - Web and multimedia accessibility

5.4.1. Definition and coverage

  • Web and multimedia accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of ensuring the web content, the electronic information and communication, and multimedia materials are robust, perceivable, operable and understandable by everyone regardless of disabilities.
  • It covers a wide range of electronic and online materials, including but not limited to
    • university websites (both internal websites and those bought from external vendors);
    • emails;
    • online documents;
    • teaching and learning resources (e.g. PowerPoint);
    • instant text messages;
    • electronic learning platforms;
    • student and staff portals;
    • plagiarism-checking system;
    • survey tools;
    • social media content; and
    • videos, pictures, and texts.

5.4.2. Recommended practices of the University

  • Follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Draft a web and multimedia accessibility policy and the supporting guidelines that can be applied to all the websites and electronic materials of all units of the university.
  • Include accessibility in the procurement specification requirement to ensure online teaching and learning systems are accessible.
  • Provide templates of accessible websites, PowerPoint slides, and mobile applications for faculties / departments / centers / units to ensure united layout to promote responsiveness and web and media accessibility.
  • Provide and incorporate training on web accessibility into the mainstream training on information technology and library literacy training for staff and students, such as how to create accessible websites and documents that fulfill web accessibility standard. Make the training materials available for university staff’s and students’ reference.
  • Customized these trainings for university members with disabilities if needed.
    • For example, the traditional “mouse-and-cursor” mode of manipulating computer might be inaccessible to some users (e.g. some people with visual impairment).
    • Manipulation by keyboard along with screen readers might be relatively more accessible to them. It might also take relatively more time to navigate.
    • These characteristics should be noted in the workshops and the teaching method and materials should be revised accordingly.
  • Ensure that keywords such as “(name of the university) disability accessibility” could be linked to the webpage of the Office of Accessibility Service [or relevant unit(s)] through search engine optimization.

5.4.3. Recommended practices of the university students and staff

  • Attend training on web and multimedia accessibility provided by the University.
  • Apply web accessibility guidelines in your areas of work.
  • Make effective use of simulators and accessibility checkers to help improve web accessibility. Examples of checkers are:
  • Ensure interoperability of web and multimedia accessibility across different platforms and gadgets such as desktop computers, tablets and mobile web browsers.
  • Set up access key shortcuts for browsing the website by manipulating only the keyboard and introduce them clearly on the webpage for users’ reference.
  • Include the “accessibility adjustment panel or toolbar” located somewhere on the webpage. For example, readers can adjust font size and colour contrast of the webpage using the accessibility panel themselves.
  • List enquiry contact for enquiries or suggestions regarding the accessibility of the website or the message content.
    • Offer multiple channels of enquiry contact such as email, online contact form, phone-call or direct appointments at the Office of Accessibility Service counter to suit students and staff with different disabilities.
    • Provide enquiry contact during non-office hours and support as some students and staff with disabilities might live in hostels.
  • Create accessible documents such as Word document, PowerPoint, PDF and survey tools. Examples of recommended references:
  • Avoid including only an image or video without text base in any electronic communication such as email and instant messaging. Add an equivalent text description of the image (the “alt text”) to each image so that screen readers can read aloud the text description of this image.
  • Add accessible captions (which is different from subtitles) to videos along with the transcripts and provide audio description.
  • Create accessible email message.
    • Consider the appropriate use of plain text format, rich text format, or HTML format. Plain text format does not structure the email content, but it is generally compatible with many assistive technologies such as screen readers. Rich text format helps format the email content, but it may not be presented the same across different email applications. HTML format supports formatted and structured email content across email applications along with other elements such as hyperlinks and alternative texts to images.
    • Make subject lines clear and easy to understand. Avoid using blank subjects or spam-like subject.
    • Structure the email using appropriate heading style, bullet points, and/or numbering. Avoid structuring email content by inserting many extra spaces.
    • Write concise message. Put the most important information first to minimize the chance of overlooking the important information.
    • Avoid including only an image or video without text base in emails. Add an equivalent text description of the image (the “alt text”) to each image so that screen readers can read aloud the text description of this image.
    • Use legible font (e.g. Arial) and font size (at least 12 point or larger).
    • Provide appropriate colour contrast to the email content.
    • Ensure the accessibility of any email attachment.
    • References:
  • Adopt camel case in creating hashtags by capitalizing the first letter of each word in the same hashtag.
    • Without spaces between words in the same hashtag, there are no cues to the screen readers that there are multiple words present, so the screen reader might turn out simply read aloud the whole hashtag as one long word. An example is “#adoptcamelcase” versus “#AdoptCamelCase”.
    • By capitalizing the first letter of each word, it gives the cue that there are different words in the hashtag and the screen readers might be able to read aloud the hashtag as different words as intended.
    • The camel case approach also particularly provides cue to people with dyslexia or cognitive disability to identify the word pattern and recognize the words in the hashtag.
  • Solicit electronic version of print materials wherever possible to facilitate the conversion into alternative accessible formats, such as audio books and Braille version, through collaboration with the university library.

5.4.4. Existing practices of local universities

5.4.5. Examples of practices of overseas universities

5.4.6. References