Is your content accessible?

Is your content accessible?

News from America is showing that many government agencies, institutions and universities are making accessibility a priority after leading universities were sued for discrimination.

Harvard and MIT failed to provide online learning documents such as lectures, courses and podcasts with closed captions, making it inaccessible for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and a handful of individuals aren’t suing for money; instead they are looking to change the mindset and conduct of the universities.

Their claim is centred around the premise that the schools discriminate by failing to caption the vast array of online content they make available to the general public, including massive open online courses. Much of Harvard’s online content is either not captioned or is inaccurately or unintelligibly captioned, making it inaccessible for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

NAD CEO Howard Rosenblum wants to set a standard for video accessibility among all higher education facilities across the country by starting with a lawsuit against two of the country’s most prestigious schools.

By not close captioning the videos, Harvard and MIT are failing to meet their legal obligations.

Australia currently requires agencies and institutions to meet AA WCAG 2.0 compliance for all online documents and content.

Although there are obvious differences between close captions and a tagged PDF, they both exist to help those with a disability access important information. In a nutshell, a tagged PDF ensures your content is read by a screen reader in the correct order, whether it is a small flyer or 300 page document. It tags sections of copy, identifying what needs to be read or ignored (such as background information) and imagery, tables or illustrations that require alternative text (alt text).

Some of our government clients have already started to implement a high level of accessibility, which includes monitoring colour contrast and tagged PDFs. Not only are they benefiting from more people being able to digest their information, an added bonus of tagging is improved SEO, with the tagging process optimising a PDF and making it easier for Google to index the file.

With the legal activity in America, it’s never been more important to ensure all aspects of your digital footprint are accessible to your users. Talk to the guys at and discover how you can meet or exceed the current standards.

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