WAVE Chrome & Firefox Extension

An accessibility evaluation tool directly within the browser that embeds inline feedback into your web content.

What We Like:

  • It is easy to use.
  • Presents page with embedded icons and indicators by clicking it.
  • Report section indicates if there are any errors.

Limitations:

  • It conducts many checks for compliance issues found in the Section 508 and WCAG 2.1 guidelines, but does not check all the guidelines.

Classroom Application:

  • Help make web content more accessible for individuals with different disabilities.

The National Center on Disability and Access to Education Cheatsheets

One-page accessibility resources, or “cheatsheets,” to assist individuals creating accessible content.

What We Like:

  • Quick one-page accessibility resources designed for educators with less technical backgrounds.
  • Includes accessibility tutorials for Microsoft Office, Adobe, and other topics.

Classroom Application:

  • Supports developing accessible documents.

Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA)

NVDA is a screen reader that helps individuals with vision and other impairments use the computer. A synthetic voice reads the text aloud and a transcript is provided of what is read.

What We Like:

  • NVDA is an open-source platform, there are free plugins you can install to enhance it.
  • Can be downloaded to a PC or to a USB stick (recommended) which you can use with any computer.
  • You can control what is read to you by moving the cursor to the relevant area of text with a mouse or the arrows on your keyboard.
  • Provides an incredible awareness to the various challenges experienced by individuals using screen readers.

Limitations:

  • There is a learning curve on how to use the screen reader. For additional tutorials check out How to use NVDA video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jao3s_CwdRU and Keyboard shortcuts for NVDA https://webaim.org/resources/shortcuts/nvda

Classroom Application:

  • Use to test accessibility of the web for individuals with visual impairments to provide greater access to education.

Microsoft Accessibility Checker

The Accessibility Checker tool finds accessibility issues in your Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Outlook emails, PowerPoint presentations, Visio diagrams, and OneNote notebooks. The tool generates a report of issues that could make your content difficult for people with disabilities to understand. Accessibility Checker also explains why you should fix these issues and how to fix them.

What We Like:

  • Comes with Microsoft Office.
  • Easy to use.
  • Gives a brief description of each accessibility rule that the Accessibility Checker looks for, grouped by category of issue.

Limitations:

  • The accessibility checker only works with files saved in .docx format. Generally, it’s best to use the .doc format for web-published documents so they can be opened by people using older version of Word. But it doesn’t take long to save your file as .docx, run the checker, then save back to .doc.

Classroom Application:

  • Check documents before sharing with students.

WebAim Color Contrast Checker

An important aspect of color on the Web for users who have visual impairments is sufficient contrast between foreground (text or graphics) and the background. This tool allows checking color combinations. Allows users to see if text pass WCAG AA and WCAG AAA standards for contrast ratio.

What We Like:

  • This tool can be used by selecting or entering a foreground and background color in RGB hexadecimal format then lightening or darkening the colors to pick the desired color.

Classroom Application:

  • Develop content for users with low vision and color blind to access the content.

Colour Contrast Analyser (Chrome Extension)

This Chrome extension can look at any webpage, image, or PDF open in your browser and identify which text elements aren’t compliant in terms of colour contrast. You can choose between testing for AA and AAA compliance and which part of the screen you’d like to focus on: the full page, visible content, or a custom region.

What We Like:

  • Provides a visual overview of the contrast of your page.
  • Text which passes the given conformance level will be outlined in white.
  • Toggle the mask on and off to see what elements on the underlying page lack enough contrast.

Limitations:

  • The WCAG conformance levels only apply to text, not to other User Interface elements.

Classroom Application:

  • Create greater access to content for individuals with visual disabilities.

Photosensitive Epilepsy Analysis Tool (PEAT)

PEAT will flag parts of the video that contain flashes or color frequencies that could be dangerous for epileptics. Content that contains video or animation should be evaluated, especially if that content contains flashing or rapid transitions between light and dark background colors.

What We Like:

  • Analyzes seizure risks in web content and software.

Limitations:

  • To run PEAT (including PEAT’s capture tool) there are the minimum system requirements.

Classroom Application:

  • Help to decrease the likelihood that animations or video content is likely to cause seizures.

Web Content Accessibility Guideline 2.1 (WCAG)

This is the most updated version of a series of international guidelines for improving web accessibility to all users, published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to maintain standard of implementable, technology neutral, objectively testable and universally applicable accessibility guidance.

What We Like:

  • WCAG 2.1 expands existing coverage to make content more accessible to a wider range of individuals with disabilities, including more provisions in the areas of low vision, and cognitive and learning disabilities.
  • There are principles, guidelines and under each guideline, success criteria that describe specifically what must be achieved.

Limitations:

  • First glance can be overwhelming. Work through a principle and few guidelines to help you understand the overall structure and resources available.

Classroom Application:

  • Awareness and support with making web content accessible to students.

Dyslexia Simulation

A simulation that demonstrates what individuals with dyslexia may experience with web content, developed by WebAim.

What We Like:

  • Offers techniques to help support individuals with cognitive disabilities.

Limitations:

  • The simulation may not be fully accessible to individuals using screen readers and will not function on mobile devices.

Classroom Application:

  • Offer suggestions for supporting individuals with cognitive disabilities.

The Center on Accessible Distance Learning (AccessDL)

Shares guidance and helpful resources (e.g., tutorials, checklists, video presentations, publications, and searchable knowledge base of case studies, promising practices, and Q&As regarding accessibility) around creating accessible courses for individuals with disabilities.

What We Like:

  • Provides universal accessibility resources with practical suggestions.

Classroom Application:

  • Good way to start learning about accessibility and best practices for designing online courses.

Center for Applied Specialized Technology (CAST)

The site offers resources to improve and optimize teaching and learning based on how humans learn. The educational framework, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), helps guide the development of flexible learning and accommodate individual learning differences through providing options in the form of multiple means of engagement with learning, multiple means of representation for information and multiple means of action and expression through which learners can demonstrate their understanding.

What We Like:

  • The framework guides the design of instructional goals, assessments, methods, and materials that can be customized and adjusted to meet individual needs.

Classroom Application:

  • Applying UDL guidelines help to accommodate students’ natural variability in learning.

ChromeVox (and Extension)

A free screen reader for Chromebooks to provide better access to content for students who are blind or who have low vision.

What We Like:

  • Available on Chromebooks and as an extension to Chrome web browser.

Limitations:

  • May take some time to learn how to navigate and various commands.

Classroom Application:

  • Can support students with visual impairments.

Word Talk

This program can read aloud any document written in Word and create audio files that can be saved.

What We Like:

  • Free add-in for Microsoft Word
  • Functions can be accessed by customizable keyboard shortcuts for individuals with vision impairments.

Classroom Application:

  • Helpful for students with visual impairments and students with reading disabilities who can use screen readers to help understand course material.

ATbar

Open-source, cross-browser toolbar to help users customize the way they view and interact with web pages. It is designed to support individuals without assistive technology.

What We Like:

  • Allows quick changes to the look and feel of web pages.
  • Includes text read aloud and dictionary.
  • Tool available for most popular browsers.

Limitations:

  • The word prediction works with accessible web pages, but not with Google Docs or Facebook. They are working on updating this feature.

Classroom Application:

  • Features support students in reading.

Color Oracle

A free color blindness simulator for Windows, Mac and Linux. The tool simulates extreme forms of color blindness such as deuteranopia, protanopia and tritanopia so that it will make easily readable by those with minor color blindness.

What We Like:

  • Shows you in real time what people with common color vision impairments will see.
  • Applies a full screen color filter to art you are designing, independently of the software in use.

Classroom Application:

  • Will help make things easily readable by those with severe and minor color blindness.

The W3C Color Contrast Checker

provides a formula for determining whether two colors have sufficient color contrast.

What We Like:

  • Shares guidelines and examples of how to address color.
  • Provides an algorithm to help with appropriate color contrast.

Limitations:

  • Includes some html references which may make it difficult for individuals who do not have background in the area.

Classroom Application:

  • Helps to create content and visuals that individuals with blindness can read.

YouTube Closed Captioning

This free tool provides a text representation of the audio in a video and has several different options for captioning videos. Most caption files are plain text files with time codes indicating the start and stop times.

What We Like:

  • Provides quick way to caption a short video.

Limitations:

  • Automatically generates closed captions so there is potential for lot of errors which may need to manual fixing.
  • Creators have to upload the video to YouTube to use the caption editor which is only available for videos that the creator owns.

Classroom Application:

  • Closed captioning not only supports students who are deaf or hard of hearing, but also others learners use it as a learning aid for comprehension, accuracy, engagement, and retention.

Introduction to Web Accessibility

This introduction will help you understand how people with disabilities use the web, the frustrations they feel when they cannot access the web, and what you can do to make your sites more accessible.

What We Like:

  • Easy read.
  • Holistic overview of web accessibility.
  • Power videos.

Classroom Application:

  • Provides a framework of web accessibility to help design and develop accessible web content.

Magnifier (Windows)

A display tool that makes the screen more readable for users who have low vision.

What We Like:

  • Easy to use.
  • Can be used with a touch screen.

Limitations:

  • Windows based accessibility tool.

Classroom Application:

  • Helps students with visual impairments make things on a screen easier to read.

Microsoft Accessibility Tutorials

Video tutorials on how to make content more accessible using Microsoft products.

What We Like:

  • Includes videos, transcripts and try it tips.

Classroom Application:

  • Create more accessible content.

Voice Typing in Google Docs

This is a speech to text feature in which you can dictate words, lists, and writing into Google Docs.

What We Like:

  • Can dictate formatting, punctuation, and editing.
  • Available in different languages to support ELL

Limitations:

  • Devices need to have a microphone.

Classroom Application:

  • Technology that supports spelling, reading, and writing.

Microsoft and Apple‘s Accessibility Webpages

provide detailed online information about how to use the accessibility features in their operating systems and other products, as well as information about how these technologies can help students with disabilities.

What We Like:

  • Allow individuals to stay current on accessibility features and updates.

Classroom Application:

  • Utilize existing accessibility features and products from the operating systems.

PBS Learning Media and Described and Captioned Media Program

offers thousands of free online videos with captioning. The website allows users to search for resources with various accessibility features such as captioning and description.

What We Like:

  • Allows users to search for resources with various accessibility features such as captioning and description.

Classroom Application:

  • Captioned media may be helpful to learners with (students who are blind, deaf and have dyslexia) and without disabilities, (students who are learning English).

LibriVox

provides free public domain audio files recorded by volunteer narrators.

What We Like:

  • Files can be played on a computer, CD player, or mobile device.
  • Can browse by title, author, genre/subject, or language.

Classroom Application:

  • Supports students to access material using audio files.

HeadingsMap (Chrome or Firefox)

Extracts all the headings and subheadings of a webpage into a navigable list.

What We Like:

  • Can easily see how the content of the page fits together.
  • It shows the headings structure, the errors in the structure, and it works as HTML5 Outliner too.

Classroom Application:

  • Useful to facilitate navigation to anyone and help with designing accessible web pages.

ClaroRead

A Chrome extension that speak web pages and PDF files and reads Google Docs with highlighting in Google Chrome browsers and Chromebooks.

What We Like:

  • Adds speech to any web page you visit, and can read aloud.
  • Point with the mouse to hear text and links and captions, or click Play to hear sentences read out with highlighting to let you keep track of where you are.
  • ClaroRead for Chromebook is free.

Classroom Application:

  • Multi-sensory software solution for supporting reading and writing.

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