Accessibility Primer

A quick overview of what accessibility is, your roles and responsibilities in maintaining accessible content, and where to go if you need help.

What is Accessibility?

"Digital accessibility" is designing digital content and technologies so that they can be fully used by people with disabilities. "Digital content" includes anything used or viewed on a computer or mobile device. For content or technologies to be accessible, people with disabilities must be able to use them in as equally effective and integrated a manner as people without disabilities.

This means being proactive in developing accessible content. It's not sufficient to merely provide individual accommodations in response to a request - there should be no barriers that prevent or delay people from fully using any digital content.

Some common techniques for ensuring digital accessibility include:

  • Making sure your images have text-based alternative descriptions 
  • Correctly marking headings in documents
  • Verifying that your text color has enough contrast against the background to be read by people who are colorblind or who have low vision
  • Adding accurate captions to videos
  • Verifying that people can navigate interactive content with a keyboard alone

What Do I Need to Do?

Everyone at the University of Oregon who creates or maintains digital content or services is responsible for making sure that content or service is accessible.

  • Web developers and content editors are responsible for ensuring that the web content they create is accessible.
  • Instructors and administrative staff are responsible for ensuring that the documents and content they create are accessible, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files, PDFs, Canvas courses and materials, video and audio files, and email newsletters.
  • Anyone procuring, purchasing, or using third-party products or services is responsible for ensuring that they meet the university's accessibility requirements. For procurements that go through Purchasing and Contracting Services (PCS), accessibility review is directly integrated into the process. You can find more information on the Procurement Accessibility Guide/FAQ page.

The first step in making your own digital content accessible is learning about how to make your technology accessible. Start by taking the appropriate training. The reference materials on this site provide recommended ways of addressing any accessibility barriers. If you find you have a lot of accessibility barriers, it is recommended to first focus on the most critical, most used, and most recent content.

What If I Need More Help?

Just ask! Email the Digital Accessibility Architect at They're happy to meet via Zoom or Teams to answer questions and provide consultation.