Web Accessibility Resources

Many web sites convey information by posting documents for download in various formats such as PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. or by providing video or audio recordings. Making sure these documents and recordings are accessible is a top priority, and also a challenge to those who create them.

Our Web Accessibility Policy requires that any new or re-created documents or videos made available for download, after March 2010, must be accessible. This includes brochures, posters, plans of study, forms, etc.

We have assembled a number of resources to help you in this process, and we are providing a link to the Web Accessibility Resources page on the Purdue West Lafayette Web site, as a good place to start.

If you have questions about any of these methods or would like one-on-one training, please contact University Relations and we will be happy to work with you.

Accessible Documents

The National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) has put together a series of “Cheat Sheets” covering everything from Microsoft Word documents to PDFs, to YouTube Videos, to Adobe InDesign documents. These were developed for people who consider themselves “less-technical” and may be useful.

Purdue West Lafayette’s Web Accessibility Committee has also produced a downloadable document with Tips for Creating Accessible Online Documents (PDF) with clear instructions on how to go about this.

Accessible PDFs

You can create accessible PDFs from other formats such as Microsoft Word or Excel, but you will need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Professional in order to check them and make repairs if necessary. Contact us for more information about obtaining the Acrobat Professional software.

Microsoft Office Documents

Accessible Multimedia

Our Web Accessibility Policy follows the current compliance requirements outlined in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. There is a provision for Web-based video in §1194.22(b) “Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.”

This means that all multimedia files including audio and video, which are posted on a Web page, must have synchronized captions and/or transcripts of the audio. Additionally, in the case of a video, if someone can hear but not see, additional details, known as “audio description” may need to be added to a transcript to describe important information that is not part of the audio portion of the recording.

Scripts for audio or video production can form the basis for synchronized captions or transcripts. Voice recognition software, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking or the automatic captioning done by YouTube, is also helpful as a starting point, but in most, if not all cases, a person needs to review and frequently correct the results.

While the Web Accessibility Intiative is able to offer some assistance with captioning, especially with videos produced for you by University Relations, there are other services and software which will help. We are providing a list and some links here. And you may want to contact the Office of Instructional Technology to discover what type of support is available for you to learn how to use some of the software or to connect you with some of the paid services.

Captioning Software Resources

  • MAGpie free software for adding captions and video descriptions to QuickTime, Windows Media, Real and Flash multimedia. Additional resources are available on this site belonging to Boston Publc Television station WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM).
  • Jubler . This is free and open source, running on Linux, Windows, and Mac. A Java-based tool for creating captions and subtitles in a variety of formats. There is a step-by-step Jubler installation guide available.
  • Macaw Mac freeware to add captioning to QuickTime video.
  • Caption It Yourself and Other Tools A page of resources maintained by the National Association of the Deaf which includes a list of captioning software as well as Web-based captioning tools.
  • MovieCaptioner Not free but an easy to use product for desktop computers, both Windows and Mac
  • Camtasia A screen capture / video captioning tool. Camtasia is not free but Purdue University Calumet has licenses for this software and it is freely available to faculty and staff. More information is available from the Office of Instructional Technology.

Captioning Services

These can be expensive but it’s worth knowing about them and their services. There is a full page of resources available at uiAccess, and we are listing two of the more popular services below:

Accessible Web Pages

Making Web Pages Accessible

Creating accessible content isn’t hard, but it does require some knowledge of just what makes a Web site accessible. Below are a few links to resources and handouts that we think will help you as you get started. We will be providing additional training and information, so please check back periodically. And if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact University Relations for answers!

Can I Check My Own Site and Documents?

Yes, absolutely. Along with the guidelines for doing a manual evaluation, there are many automated tools available to help. In fact there are so many, that we created a special Web Site Evaluation Tools page to list the resources. As more turn up, we will list them here as well.

The Department of Health and Human Services has a self-directed tutorial for testing documents for accessibility on that site.

There are accessibility checkers built in to Office 2010 and Acrobat Pro, tho these should be considered “smoke tests”, to give you a baseline indication of where your document stands. You will still need to evaluate the document using the guidelines included in the tools listed.