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What is accessibility?

"ASU is a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed"

President Michael Crow, Office of the President, One University in Many Places

Digital accessibility means making your website, courses, and online content accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities or the device they are using. Often, simple changes can improve access to digital content for people with disabilities, including:

  • Visual (e.g., blindness, low vision, color blindness)
  • Auditory (e.g., deafness, hard of hearing)
  • Motor (e.g., paralysis, cerebral palsy, missing/damaged limbs)
  • Cognitive (e.g., learning disabilities, brain injury, psychiatric disorders)

A large portion of ASU's online audience has some form of disability that makes accessing the Internet difficult.

of undergrads have a reported disability

require assistive technology to use the web


Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2016)

Most of us experience temporary or situational disabilities, such as having a broken arm or being without audio in a very loud (or very quiet) environment. Making a site or course more accessible benefits users with disabilities, but it also makes it more usable for everyone.

From Microsoft's Inclusive Toolkit Manual | View Text Version | View Large Version | Download PDF


Want to learn more about web accessibility?
Take ASU's 30-minute online Canvas course.


How to get started

Start small and make a few improvements. The first time you test one of your site pages with WAVE or SiteImprove, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of errors. But some of the most helpful improvements for users are fairly simple to make:

  1. If your site uses videos, host them on YouTube and edit the automatic captions.
  2. Check that all images have equivalent alternative text.
  3. Make sure all pages are keyboard accessible.

See more on getting started with accessibility.

To ensure that your pages are accessible to persons with disabilities, perform an ASU DIY Accessibility Audit. This easy-to-use tool walks you step-by-step through a manual accessibility audit (no knowledge of coding or HTML necessary).

ASU DIY Accessibility Audit