Digital Accessibility 101: What you need to know

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the digital accessibility policy. For questions regarding live captioning requirements, please see the Live Captioning FAQ.

General Accessibility

Accessibility provides a person with a disability the equal opportunity to independently 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, in essentially the same timeframe. A person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability

Digital accessibility is the process of providing all users access to the same digital information or digital services, regardless of the impairments they may experience. Users with a disability should be able to engage with digital content in an equal and individual way.

Digital accessibility can be achieved through a variety of methods. Design choices, image descriptions, subtitles, and captioning are a few aspects authors should consider. A person with disabilities may utilize a range of assistive technologies such as screen readers, magnifiers, high contrast color schemes, braille displays, switch controls, and more.

  • What is Digital Information?
    • Digital information is information and content delivered through the use of technology.
    • Examples include PDFs, emails, videos, websites, computer programs, and mobile applications
  • What are Digital services?
    • Digital services are services provided through the use of technology to the university community or general public that provide educational, administrative, or other services.
    • Examples include university websites, Carmen, online timesheets, and the Ohio State mobile app.

The Digital Accessibility Policy ensures equal access to digital information and services for all university audiences, including students, prospective students, faculty, staff, student employees, guests, visitors, and program participants.

Accessibility is the right thing to do. As a state institution, we have an ethical and legal obligation to serve all, regardless of their abilities. It is important to understand that accessibility is an issue of civil rights, and that creating an inaccessible environment could constitute discrimination against individuals with disabilities. So, while providing equal access to our programs and services is required by law, it is also an expression of Ohio State’s educational mission and values as a public university.

When we discuss disabilities that affect digital information and services, we generally mean the broad categories of visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive disabilities. Approximately 10 to 20% of people have a disability. These disabilities may be permanent, such as blindness from birth, or temporary, such as a broken leg.

At Ohio State, this means that between 10,000 to 20,000 of our faculty, staff, and students have a disability. This does not include the hundreds of thousands of other researchers, alumni, program participants, and members of the public who use our digital information and services. People with disabilities may use specialized tools to help them access our digital information and services.

  • Emails to students
  • Word documents shared with colleagues or students
  • University websites
  • Online events and programs
  • Videos describing university employment benefits
  • Software developed or purchased by the university
  • Mobile applications

Although the University would encourage you to consider making your personal website accessible, our policy would only cover a personal website if it was used in conducting university business. For example, if you were to put content on your personal website and then use the site in class to convey information to your students, then the university would expect that site to comply with the policy.

Technical Standards

The Minimum Digital Accessibility Standards outline the current standards and guidelines used to to determine if digital information and services meet a minimum threshold of accessibility.