Getting Started

Getting Started

Ensuring equal access for everyone to independently navigate, communicate, and interact within our academic environment requires - with intention - we create experiences, digital assets and content which are accessible and inclusive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four adults (26%) in the US have some type of disability. The National Center for Education Statistics finds that nearly 20% of the undergraduate population have reported having a disability. Why would we create experiences, information and digital tools which may not be available to over 20% of our University community, prospective students and employees, as well as the general population?

It is important to take into consideration the many characteristics a person brings to the table, as well as the variety of devices used to access and interact with the information and opportunities we provide.

A person who is blind may navigate a webpage using screen reader software and rely on audio description to understand video content. People with motor disabilities may use alternative input devices such as switches, eye tracking software, or a mouth wand. Individuals who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing rely on sign language interpreters, captions and transcripts to understand verbal, audio and video content. People with cognitive and/or print disabilities benefit greatly from the structure and flexibility of experiences and digital content. Accessibility works for all of these users and countless others with and without disabilities.

The University of Virginia Statement on Accessibility states that accessibility is a shared responsibility within the University community and one that “demands our continuous identification and removal of physical, technological, and attitudinal barriers”. 

The University is also required by law to provide programs and services that are accessible to all qualified participants, including those with disabilities.

We are all responsible for creating an accessible environment and experience.

Resources To Help You On Your Journey:

STEP 1: What Is Accessibility? (SeeWriteHear)

STEP 2: Because our world relies heavily on the web and other digital tools, your next step should be to view an introduction to digital accessibility by visiting any of the sites listed below. WebAIM is often considered the best resource when starting on this journey.

STEP 3: Begin to master the "core skills". We have identified nine core skills that are the basic skills needed in developing your accessibility skill-set foundation. You do not have to learn these all at once! Use the "plus one" mindset - pick one, understand and master that, then another, and so on.

Training is also offered by the UVA Digital Accessibility Coordinator: Upcoming Events

Recommended Sites for an Introduction to Digital Accessiblity:

Help from Peer Institutions:

An internet search for “Digital Accessibility” will yield a number of results that will also provide guidance and help in creating accessibility digital assets.

Getting Help at UVA

Learning Tech can help you understand any accessibility issue with software that you are using in your classroom.

There may be folks within your school or unit that can help you get started - Instructional Support. The Center for Teaching Excellence and the Learning Design & Technology Group in the College of Arts & Sciences are both wonderful resources as well.

Important websites:

Digital Accessibility Project (DAP) Technology E-Mail List

Tips, techniques, and processes focusing on accessibility are shared through email lists and workshops. Intended for this purpose, you are encouraged to subscribe to the DAP_Tech email list (DAP underscore Tech). This list was originally created to share information during the Digital Accessibility Project (2027-20210. Although the project has finished, this list continues and is intended for discussions surrounding creation of accessible digital assets and the accessibility of the UVA digital environment.

To Subscribe:

  1. Using your Web browser, navigate to UVA Sympa Lists: Subscribe DAP_Tech.
  2. Enter your primary email address (similar to [email protected]) and name in the fields provided.
  3. To confirm your identity, you will receive a confirmation email from SYMPA ([email protected]) at the address provided.
  4. Follow the instructions and confirm your request to subscribe to the DAP_Tech discussion list.

To Unsubscribe:

  1. Using your Web browser, navigate to UVA Sympa Lists: Unsubscribe DAP_Tech.
  2. Enter your email address, select “Unsubscribe for list vheap” and confirm on the next screen.
  3. You will receive a confirmation email from SYMPA ([email protected]) at the address provided.
  4. Follow the instructions and confirm your request to unsubscribe from the DAP_Tech discussion list.

Other Resources

The Accessibility Partners @ UVA group is also available to address your questions or route to the best resource.

A listing of many conferences, workshops, and other training and professional development opportunities can be found on the Coordinator of Academic Accessibility / Professional Development website.