Here at ProfHacker we’ve written several posts over the years about accessibility of digital resources for all people, including people with disabilities. Right now, my campus is engaged in a 3-year plan to get all of our digital pedagogical resources to adhere to federal regulations regarding accessibility. One issue that has been the subject of many conversations is the use of images and how best to make them accessible while still fulfilling their function in teaching.
I’m a big fan of WebAIM’s user-friendly explanation of using alternative text with images. However, while searching online for additional information or examples related to this topic, I came across a new-to-me resource: the DIAGRAM Center website, an initiative of the non-profit Benetech and other partners. The DIAGRAM (Digital Image and Graphic Resources for Accessible Materials) Center site has a number of substantial sections:
- Making Images Accessible: "[R]esources developed by the DIAGRAM Center to help content creators provide image descriptions.”
- 3D Printing, Tactiles and Haptics: “New technologies for creating tactiles and tactile experiences [to convey] spatial information”
- Accessible Math: "[M]ultiple ways for students to interact with math content, including equations, graphs, and other notation.”
- Born Accessible Publishing: "[R]esources to help publishers and the myriad of other new, digital content creators understand the basics of how to make content born accessible”
- Research projects: Descriptions of several different DIAGRAM Center research projects with links to examples, demos, and further information.
I strongly recommend the information and tools available in the “Making Images Accessible” section of the site if you’re want to better understand how to make accessible the images you use in your teaching (and / or share electronically with your students). In particular, the “Poet image description tool” can walk you through a series of questions to help you determine what you need to do to make a particular image accessible, and it can -- so they say -- facilitate crowd sourcing the description of images. And if you’re looking for detailed guidelines about a variety of different kinds of images -- Venn diagrams, flow charts, bar graphs, scatter plots, maps, etc. -- then you’ll want to consult these “Image Description Guidelines.”
All in all, this site is a very impressive project.
How about you? What are your favorite resources that help you make your materials accessible? Please share in the comments.