Accessibility


Web Accessibility is the inclusive practice of making websites and web applications usable by people of all abilities, including people with disabilities. The goal is for all users have equal access to information and functionality. Our guidelines are based on global industry web standards created by the W3C and specifically WCAG 2.0 - Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Our accessibility experts have experience in accessibility as it relates to academics, web development, and instructional design.  We use a combination of web standards (W3C, WAI, WCAG), federal accessibility guidelines, and user testing with assistive technologies to assess the accessibility of MIT websites, applications, and courseware.  

Primary Goals

  • Provide free accessibility reviews and consulting to MIT
  • Strategize and consult on accessible solutions for code, media, design and educational projects
  • Assist product development groups in applying accessibility guidelines and principles
  • Build awareness of our legal obligations for accessibility under the American with Disabilities Act, 504, and other legal mandates
  • Build cultural awareness and acceptance of the many benefits of accessibility

Primary Services & Methods

  • Design reviews.  Assess the surface of designs: color, contrast, labels, white space, predictability of links and interaction.  We review JPEGs, wireframes, and clickable HTML pages with simple images
  • Code reviews.  Assess the underlying code, taking into account the semantic structure of the code.  We use a mixture of automated tools, live testing using JAWS and NVDA screen readers, and exploration of code against standards

Types of Disabilities

Between 15 - 20% of the world's population has some kind of a (visible or invisible) disability. To create an inclusive web experience for all users, it is helpful to understand the ways in which different disability types need to access web content.

  • Hearing (Deafness and Hard-of-Hearing). Users with hearing impairments can use the web if captions are provided for multimedia content (any video content that also has audio) and transcripts for audio-only content
  • Visual (Blindness and Low Vision). Users with vision loss can rely on screen enlargement, keyboard-only navigation, and/or the use of screen reader technology. Access to information via these means is dependent on sizable fonts, good color contrast, and well-structured websites that label all elements properly
  • Motor (Physical Impairments). Users with motor impairments are likely to use only a mouse, only a keyboard, voice or other inputs to control and navigate the web. Websites developed with flexibility of input options are more accessible to these individuals
  • Cognitive. User with cognitive impairment rely on consistent navigation structure. Overly complex presentation, flickering, or strobing designs can be confusing to this group of users

All inquiries are welcome at accessibility [at] mit.edu.