While accessibility is already protected by law, it is important that we understand that it is only just and right that everyone is given the same opportunity to receive and use information. That is why all information you distribute, manually or digitally, must be accessible for everyone.
Are you sure that the newsletters, school forms and other documents you send electronically to students and parents are ADA compliant? The road to accessibility compliance is a long, winding one but still traversable. To help you get started, here are five tips to making your electronic documents, downloadable files and school forms user-friendly for everybody.
1. Audit Your School Forms.
There are accessibility checkers that you can use online to identify forms or documents are non-compliant. Microsoft Excel and Word have an accessibility checker function; same as with Adobe Acrobat. You can likewise get assistance from individuals with disabilities to test school form accessibility and to ask for feedback. Knowing their perspective will give you a better understanding of the
2. Differentiate Documents
Differentiate documents that can be in PDF form from those that would be better off as static web page or submittable form. Not all documents can be formatted in a way that can be utilized by screen readers or other assistive technologies.
3. Prepare Standardized Process
You should always evaluate your school’s document production to ensure it is a streamlined process. A simple checklist that includes Title, Language, Reading Order, Alt Text, H1 before H2, and color contrast would suffice. Your team should be prepared for a conversion which will be time-consuming but definitely doable with the right tools.
4. Provide Alternatives
Non-text content must still be viewable or readable for people who need to change it to Braille, symbols, speech, symbols, large print or simpler language. Include captions on live and pre-recorded audio content. Sign language interpretation should also be provided for pre-recorded audio content. Images, charts, graphics and tables must have accurate text descriptions.
5. Follow ADA Accessibility Best Practices
While this is not a full comprehensive list, here are a few rules that will get you started.
- Headings are useful but they should be in proper order.
- Ensure important information is left out of the headers and footers as most screen readers do not recognize the content placed in these areas.
- If applicable, provide additional instructions below form fields.
- Include a placeholder text inside the form field to provide the user with an example.
Remember that accessibility isn’t a one-time fix. You need to monitor and maintain it just like how you handle privacy and security. Because accessibility of electronic forms and documents use technology, they will be affected as both laws and technology evolves hence the importance of ongoing consideration.
If you are unsure if your institution can handle the necessary electronic document compliance and accessibility monitoring, you can always partner with an expert. Sign up for Script and let our software ensure all your school forms are ADA-compliant by using our new digital form builder. We are here to make things a little less complicated and a little more convenient for you.