Disability is a component of a person's identity, but it is not the sole part of a person's identity. CDAR's expertise is at the intersection of disability and design. We work with the campus community to ensure physical, curricular, and digital environments are designed to be barrier-free to the extent possible. When access through design is not possible, CDAR meets with students to determine if the barrier is disability-related and if so, assigns reasonable accommodations for each course. CDAR then informs faculty of accommodations via email. Faculty may receive new or updated accommodations at any point in the semester, including finals week.
Some accommodations may require additional conversations. CDAR encourages all faculty to contact our office for clarification or additional recommendations to improve access in their course.
University of Idaho's Center for Disability Access and Resources recommends that faculty and instructors include on all syllabi a statement informing students with disabilities of their right to request reasonable accommodations in the classroom.
Center for Disability Access and Resources (CDAR) coordinates services to meet the educational needs of students with temporary or permanent disabilities. CDAR works with students and faculty to arrange reasonable accommodations and promote an environment that is inclusive for all learners.
Please include the following statement on all syllabi:
Students with disabilities needing accommodations to fully participate in this class should contact Center for Disability Access and Resources (CDAR). All accommodations must be approved through CDAR prior to being implemented. To learn more about the accommodation process, visit CDAR's website at www.uidaho.edu/cdar or call 208-885-6307.
Headings and subheadings should be identified as such using the built-in heading features of the authoring tool. Headings should form an outline of the page content (Heading 1 for main heading / roman numerals, Heading 2 for first level of sub-headings, Heading 2 for next level, etc.) This enables screen reader users to understand how the page is organized and to quickly navigate to the content of interest. Most screen readers have features that enable users to quickly jump between headings with a single key-stroke.
Content organized as a list should be created using list controls in document authoring software. Most software allows for unordered (bulleted) or ordered (numbered) lists. Most screen readers will announce a list and the number of items in the list. Using list features help screen reader users understand how content is organized and determine if they need to listen to the list or move on to the next item.
Users who are unable to see images rely on alternate text or "alt text" to access the content of an image. Alt text should be succinct, just enough text to communicate the idea without burdening the user with unnecessary detail. Screen readers typically announce the image, so there is no need to include "image of" in alt text.
Most authoring tools provide a means of adding alt text to images, usually in a dialog that appears when an image is added, or later in an images properties dialog.
If images are purely decorative and contain no informative content, they do not require a description. However, they may require specific markup so screen readers know to skip them. The methods for hiding decorative images from screen reader users is described in more detail in the format-specific pages.
More complex images, such as charts, graphs, and maps may require additional steps beyond adding alt text.
Tables are useful for communicating relationships between data, especially where those relationships can be best expressed in a matrix of rows and columns. Tables should not be used to control layout. Authoring tools have other means of controlling layout, including columns and lists.
Key to accessible tables is identifying row and column headers. If there are nested columns or rows, a screen reader will need to be explicitly informed as to which heads relate to which cells. Try to keep tables simple, consider dividing complex tables into multiple smaller tables, each with their own heading.
Links presented in an electronic document should convey clear an accurate information about the destination. Most authoring tools allow the creator to assign a hyperlink to text.
For documents that will be circulated as print material, use a URL shortening service to create a customized and meaningful link name. University offices should consider a vanity URL to use on print material. Contact your department's Web Coordinator for information on vanity URL's.
Screen reader software is multilingual and can read content in a wide variety of languages. In order to ensure that screen readers will read a document using the appropriate language profile, the language of the document must be identified.
You should also identify the language of any content written in a language other than the documents default language. With this information, screen readers can switch between languages as they read the document.
Most authoring tools provide a means of identifying the document language, as well as the language of specific parts.
When converting from one file type to another, ensure that accessibility features remain intact. In order for a PDF to be accessible, it must be a tagged PDF, with an underlying structure that includes features described on this page. Some authoring tools do not support exporting as a tagged PDF, while others provide multiple ways of exporting to PDF, which produce varying levels of accessibility. See our Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft Word page for information on creating PDFs in Word.
Some content can be challenging to present in a way that's fully accessible. The following offices at the University of Idaho can assist you in making your material more accessible.
Course Design / BBLearn and Ally
Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
Education Building, Suite 220
University Web pages
University Communications and Marketing
Director, Web Communications and Operations
Center for Disability Access and Resources