Open Educational Resources (OER): Accessibility

Why Accessibility?

11% of students in postsecondary institutions have self-identified as having a disability. (National Center for Education Statistics)

“Accessibility is all about our ability to engage with, use, participate in, and belong to, the world around us." (


According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, no individual with a disability should be excluded from participation in, or be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance. 

According to Section 508, federal agencies must develop, procure, and/or use electronic/digital materials accessible for everyone, regardless of disability. More information can be found through the sites: Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

To learn more, see this Guide for Disability Rights Laws created by the ADA division of the US Department of Justice and Civil Rights. 



Accessibility Criteria to Consider

  • Navigation that is clear and consistent.
  • Properly structured documents, including headings.
  • Sufficient color contrast. Avoid using color to convey meaning.
  • Alternative text descriptions - for images, tables, equations, maps, etc.
  • Intelligibly-captioned multimedia and descriptive audio.
  • High quality scans with no highlighting or handwriting.
  • PDFs that are text renderable, tagged, and structured appropriately.
  • Meaningful hyperlinks. Avoid phrases like ‘click here’ and ‘more’.

Making Technology Work For Everyone