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Digital Accessibility

illustration of computer monitor

What is Digital Accessibility?

Digital accessibility is the practice of ensuring that NYU websites, web applications, and digital content can be used by our community who have a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight or cognitive abilities.

Websites, web applications, and digital content are integral to the University’s academic and administrative work. However, not all resources are developed with digital accessibility in mind, which can make using digital content difficult or impossible for some individuals.

Accessibility promotes an improved user experience for everyone. Simple and clear layouts, high color contrast, and the option to search and read a transcript or captions to a video or audio recording, enhances everyone’s online experience - including those using assistive technologies.

NYU now adheres to the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 standards. Anyone creating digital content at NYU is responsible for creating content that complies with these criteria.

Who Benefits from Improved Accessibility?

While accessibility is necessary for some groups to use the web, it is beneficial for everyone. When creating digital content, keep in mind the different ways people perceive and process content.

Websites and digital content are used by individuals in different ways, depending on their abilities and disabilities. Assistive technologies make websites and digital content accessible to users with diverse abilities.

  • Those who are blind or have low vision may use a screen reader or a braille device. Good color contrast helps everyone.  
  • Those who are deaf or hard of hearing may use captions for audio and video.
  • Those with motor impairments may need to use a keyboard and no mouse in order to successfully navigate and use a website.
  • Those with cognitive impairments may use a combination of the above assistive technologies.

Who is Responsible for Accessibility?

Accessibility is a shared concern for anyone in the NYU community who has a hand in creating, sharing, and publishing digital resources.

This includes the following groups:

  • Faculty should create accessible digital content and resources. This may include online syllabi, instructional materials (handouts, lecture notes, presentations), research materials, and public websites.
  • Students should makes their course materials accessible to everyone in their class or group. This may include adding captions and sharing accessible documents digitally.
  • Content creators who create and publish text, images, video, and audio must adhere to accessibility requirements when creating and publishing digital content.
  • Designers who are responsible for visual and interaction design must account for diverse needs when designing user interfaces.
  • Developers who are responsible for programming websites, web applications, and use digital content must follow accessibility specifications when building and testing sites and applications.
  • Managers responsible for specifying and managing projects should make sure accessibility requirements are integrated into product specifications, as well as project planning and resourcing. For example, if you are contracting with a vendor, all products supplied by that vendor must be made according to digital accessibility standards.