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Make Your Handouts Accessible for Everyone

Posted by on June 19th, 2017 Posted in: Blog, News, Teaching Technologies


As a government-funded agency under the department of Health and Human Services (HHS), NNLM is required to comply with section 508 policy as it applies to all products and services produced by the RMLs and Offices on behalf of the National Library of Medicine. Plus it’s the right thing to do – we want our content and products to be accessible to everyone.

Here’s a list of tools and links we use to make sure our online content is accessible and functional.  All of these links are free and from reputable sources.

NCDAE cheat sheets

Step by step directions (with pictures!) for creating accessible versions of common types of files (MS Word, Powerpoint, Excel). Includes directions for both Mac and PC. Does not include the newest versions of MS Office. From the National Center of Disability and Access to Education.

WAVE accessibility Tool for Firefox & Chrome

The WAVE Chrome and Firefox extensions evaluates web content for accessibility issues directly within Chrome and Firefox browsers.  The extension can check intranet, password-protected, dynamically generated, or sensitive web pages, and, according to it’s website, is 100% private.

Accessibility Developer tools for Google Chrome

Adds an Accessibility audit and sidebar pane to Chrome Developer Tools, so you can load a webpage then check to see that it is compliant in the same browser window.

Adobe Acrobat DC accessibility guides

While you must have Adobe Acrobat Professional edition to utilize most built-in accessibility tools, all versions of Adobe Acrobat DC, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, Acrobat Standard DC and Acrobat Pro DC provide support for the accessible reading of PDF files by persons with disabilities.

Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit Hackpad

Tips on making social media accounts more accessible, including 5 Things Every Social Media Content Manager Needs to Know about accessibility. Coverage includes Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and more.

About Section 508

In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. The law (29 U.S.C. § 794 (d)) applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508, agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to access available to others. The United States Access Board discusses the Section 508 law and its responsibility for developing accessibility standards for EIT to incorporate into regulations that govern Federal procurement practices.

What tools do you use to make your handouts, webpages and tutorials accessible? Tell us in the comments.

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