ICT Accessibility Policy

The Syracuse University Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility Policy went into effect on January 1st, 2018.

The policy is to ensure that members of the Syracuse University community and their guests can effectively access University content and information and communication technologies. This policy covers all content and technology, including websites, web-based and mobile applications, email, webconferencing, video conferencing, video streaming, instructional materials, electronic documents, blended and online courses, and all academic and administrative software applications acquired or adopted after the effective date of this policy. The policy also provides a method to ensure that communication at University-wide events is accessible and enables full participation. It is the University’s aim to make content and technology accessible to current and prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, visitors, and the general public.

Resources for complying with the policy can be found in the Accessible Technology Toolkit. Questions can be directed to AccessibleIT@syr.edu.

Faculty Bootcamp on Teaching Inclusive Design in Technology and Design Classes

Teach Access, in collaboration with the University of Colorado Boulder and the Accessing Higher Ground Conference, Invites Faculty to attend their Faculty Bootcamp on Teaching Inclusive Design in Technology and Design Classes

Learn about and discuss trends we are noticing with new-hires at tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Oath, Adobe, and Facebook. Learn about examples and techniques you can use in your own classrooms (programming, design, testing, etc.) to best prepare your students to create inclusive experiences that not only increase their employability after graduation, but also motivate them to create innovative breakthroughs in making technology work better for everyone.

*WHEN: Tuesday, November 14, 11:00 pm – 3:00 EST

*COST: No charge

*LEADERS: Mary Bellard, Senior Accessibility Architect at Microsoft and co-leader of the Materials Task Force for Teach Access, and Larry Goldberg, Senior Director, Accessible Media, Oath

*REGISTRATION: Attend via live stream. Registration is required.

*OTHER SESSIONS: A mini-conference during the Accessing Higher Ground main conference will focus on topics related to the teaching of accessibility and Universal Design in university curriculum.

*QUESTIONS: Contact Howard Kramer at 303-492-8672 or hkramer@colorado.edu.

More information about faculty workshops


Audio Description for Video

WCAG 2.0 AA (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) requires that audio description be provided for all prerecorded video content in synchronized media.  The purpose of audio description is to provide access to the visual information in a video for people who are blind or low vision by adding a sound track that describes what is happening as it is taking place in the video.

3PlayMedia, a popular captioning vendor, is now offering audio description services. Visit the 3PlayMedia website to find more information about the features offered with this service.

Additional vendors of audio description are listed on our Video Captioning Resources page.

Word for Mac can now produce an accessible PDF

Message box for entering alt text in WordWith the recent Microsoft Word 2016 for Mac update, 15.24.1, you can now use “Save as PDF” to create an accessible PDF document from Word for Mac.  Prior to this update, Word for Mac did not transfer accessibility ‘tags’ to the PDF document so users had to perform in intermediate step of opening the Word document in Microsoft Word for Windows or LibreOffice and save it as an accessible PDF.  In addition, the accessibility checker currently available in the Windows version is in beta for the Mac version of Word.

Find instructions for creating an accessible Word document and saving it as an accessible PDF on WebAIM.org.

PDF Accessibility

Adobe PDF logo
Copyright 2015. Adobe Systems Incorporated.

PDF is an inherently difficult format from the standpoint of people who are blind using a screen reader to listen the PDF read aloud.  Similarly, people with low vision and people with cognitive impairments using text-to-speech technology may encounter difficulties with improperly tagged PDF documents.

While the process for creating accessible PDFs continues to develop, it is still far from intuitive or efficient.  Instead, consider providing an accessible alternative in addition when distributing a PDF.  For example, if you are emailing a colorful flier as a PDF attachment, include all the information from the flier in the body of the email.  Let your readers know that all the information in the flier is contained in the email so they can be assured that they are getting all the important details.  And of course, make sure the body of your email meets accessibility guidelines.

Find information about creating accessible email and other document types in the Technology Accessibility Toolkit.

Register for the “Accessing Higher Ground” live virtual conference!

Live virtual conference: “Accessing Higher Ground”

All SU faculty and staff are invited to the virtual version of “Accessing Higher Ground,” a live, web-based conference focused on Accessible Media, Web and Technology, presented by the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD). The 18th annual conference will be held Monday – Friday, November 16 – 20, 2015 and will be hosted in several locations on the SU campus.

Registration is free; please register at http://its.syr.edu/aheadreg by November 11 if you plan to attend any sessions.

Accessing Higher Ground (AHG) focuses on the implementation and benefits of Accessible Media, Universal Design and Assistive Technology in the university, business and public setting. There is a strong focus on campus accommodation, Universal Design and curriculum accessibility. Other topic areas cover legal and policy issues, including ADA and 508 compliance. The creation of accessible media and information resources, including Web pages and library resources are a particular focus of the event.

Sessions in this conference include:

  • Preconference lab session: All About Video
  • What works with faculty? Results from a yearlong faculty-to-faculty accessible instructional materials workshop
    E-Learning Accessibility: What Does an Instructor Need to Know?
  • The Challenges of Emerging Technology in Online Education: Tips and Tools for Ensuring Accessibility in the Online Environment
  • When the Dept. of Justice/ OCR makes a visit: Campus leaders discuss lessons learned in resolving complaints about inaccessible IT
  • Taking on the elephant in the room: Implementing innovative procurement processes in a large University system.

Presentation of this conference on the SU campus is jointly sponsored by the Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services office, the Office of Faculty Development, the Office of Disability Services, the Disability Cultural Center, SU Libraries, and Information Technology Services.

Questions? Send an email to Information Technology Services at accessibleIT@syr.edu and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Please include your name and phone number in your email.

Tips: Check for Common Website Accessibility Errors

Below are a few points that will assist you in determining whether your website is accessible. Our page, Common Accessibility Errors: And How to Fix Them, provides more extensive information on this topic.

  1. Are you able to navigate the website with a keyboard only using [Tab] and [Shift][Tab]?
  2. Can you see where the [Tab] focus is?
  3. Are there alternative text descriptions for all images?
  4. If video is used, does it have accurate closed captioning?
  5. Are the hyperlinks on this page descriptive and non-repetitive?
  6. Can you zoom in on the page without losing information? Can you double your zoom and still navigate the webpage?
  7. Is there a skip to main content link?