Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Kresge Library, Room 430
100 Library Drive
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4479
(location map)
(248) 370-2751
[email protected]


Using the Digital Accessibility Checklist

Mon Jan 27, 2020 at 01:30 PM

When constructing a building, we don’t hold off building a ramp until someone in a wheelchair requests it. Power doors, elevators, and other accessible design features are automatically figured into blueprints. The same shift is taking place in our web environments. Digital accessibility is the effort to proactively make electronic content accessible for people with disabilities rather than waiting for people to disclose an issue and receive an accommodation. In education some common considerations might be whether a document can be navigated with a keyboard or screen reader, whether a student can see slides from the back of a classroom, or whether students with hearing impairments can follow along with videos using captions. The web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) explain what makes a web environment successful.

Digital accessibility can seem like a daunting task if taken on all at once, but making small habit changes can not only significantly improve web material for students, but can also improve your workflow. 

But where to start? In the Digital Accessibility for Faculty Quick Note, we have boiled down the WCAG to six considerations: text appearance, color, weblinks, sequence, images, and captions/transcripts. From there, the Digital Accessibility Checklist helps determine what you are already doing that increases accessibility and pinpoint what changes you can make right away and in the months ahead.

Make a copy of the accessibility checklist, and customize it for your needs: 

  • Reorganize the list based on your priorities.
  • Add dates when you would like to begin working on certain aspects.
  • Add your own concrete goals, such as three documents you would like to make accessible.
  • Note your questions and how hey can be answered.
  • Comment on opportunities related to course material, such as opportunities to discuss accessibility issues within your field.

This checklist is not comprehensive, but provides feasible starting points that can be a catalyst for powerful change. To gain more context and instruction on digital accessibility, OU faculty and staff have access to the Digital Accessibility self-paced workshop. For these and more resources, visit the Digital Accessibility for Faculty webpage.

Save and adapt a Google Doc version of this teaching tip.

About the Author

Written by Christina Moore, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Oakland University. Updated November 23, 2020.  Others may share and adapt under Creative Commons License CC BY-NC.

View all CETL Weekly Teaching Tips. Follow these and more on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.