"Accessible" means 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. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability. Although this might not result in identical ease of use compared to that of persons without disabilities, it still must ensure equal opportunity to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology and equal treatment in the use of such technology (U.S. Department of Education).

Web Accessibility: What it Means and Why it Matters

According the CDC, it is estimated that approximately 26% of the population has a disability. While not all disabilities effect someone's ability to effectively access web content, it's important to make online content accessible to everyone, including those individuals with disabilities that do make viewing online content difficult.

People with disabilities can often find many opportunities, independence, and freedom through the web more than any other medium. By making web content accessible, you ensure that you do not exclude a large portion of the population that could benefit most from your content.

It's also important that you understand the legal obligations you have to make your content accessible. For more details, visit

Making Electronic Content Accessible

Design Principles

Before you can make your electronic/web content accessible, it' important that you understand accessibility design principles. Please review this page from WebAim to get a basic understanding of accessible design principles.

Helpful Resources

There are several resources available to help you make your electronic content accessible. View the information contained in the tabs below to learn about the techniques and tools you can use to make your content accessible.

Duquesne Resources

Duquesne is committed to providing students with appropriate reasonable accommodations. Please view the Disability Services page for details.

WebAIM & NCDAE Resources

The National Center on Disability and Access to Education has terrific resources to help you create accessible content. View the content below for details.

Creating Accessible Electronic Content

When creating electronic content, it's important to follow these NCDAE guidelines to make it accessible:

  • Write clearly
  • Use good semantic structure
  • Use appropriate color contrast and text size
  • Be careful with data tables
  • Provide appropriate alternative text
  • Ensure links are descriptive
  • Caption and/or provide transcripts for media

View the NCDAE's page for more specific guidelines.

Identifying Web Accessibility Issues

Visit this NCDAE page for more information on identifying web accessibility issues.

Tools to Help You Create Accessible Content

  • NCDAE software cheat sheets provide one-page tips on creating accessible content software like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Adobe Acrobat, and inDesign accessible.
  • The WebAIM contrast checker will help you test your font and background color choices to make sure they are accessible.
Accessible Online Learning

A Tutorial for Making Online Learning Accessible to Students with Disabilities

View this tutorial from the University of Washington to learn about assistive technologies, inclusive design approaches, and universal design principles that can help you to design a course that is inclusive of all students.

20 Tips for Teaching an Accessible Online Course

View this tip sheet from the University of Washington to learn course design guidelines and instructional methods for making your online course inclusive.

Canvas Resources

Canvas "is committed to ensuring its products are inclusive and meet the diverse accessibility needs of our users". However, it is the instructor's responsibility to use Canvas to make their content accessible. View the Canvas resources below to learn how you can make your content accessible.