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2.9: Accessibility Statements

  • Page ID
    201925
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    Once you have created an accessible textbook, you should provide an accessibility statement. While an accessibility statement is not required, it can be an important and useful addition to a resource for which you have worked to make accessible. This section will outline guidelines and recommendations about what to include in an accessibility statement and who the accessibility statement is for.

    What is an accessibility statement?

    An accessibility statement acts as resource for those who have questions about the accessibility features of your resource. It should provide an overview of accessibility features and contact information in case there are any problems.

    Who are you doing this for?

    When writing an accessibility statement, it is important to keep in mind who the statement is for. This will guide the language you use and the type of information you include. Ultimately, the accessibility statement is for people who have disabilities or are having problems accessing your resource for whatever reason.

    Hassell Inclusion’s blog post on “How to write an effective Accessibility Statement” notes that many accessibility statements ignore who will be accessing the accessibility statement or why. Instead, they make statements about the organization’s commitment to accessibility, combined with technical jargon related to web development, accessibility, and accessibility legislation. Rather than acting as a helpful resource for people with disabilities, this type of accessibility statement “read[s] like a combination of a sales pitch on how socially responsible the organization is, a technology manual, and some legal small print.”[1]

    Chances are, the only time people will be interested in an accessibility statement is when they have trouble accessing content in the textbook or resource. Therefore, make sure your accessibility statement provides the information readers are looking for.

    What do you need to do?

    Here are tips for writing a useful accessibility statement:

    • Use clear and simple language, avoiding jargon and technical terms
    • Include information about how people can personalize their experience. This might include information about:
      • features of the platform used for the resource (e.g., if a book is in Pressbooks, mention the ability of users to increase the font size in the web book)
      • the ability to change browser settings
      • a link to each available file format
      • assistive technologies
    • Outline specific accessibility features and how to use them when relevant
    • Do not make false claims or ignore known accessibility issues. Be as transparent and open about accessibility barriers as possible. This means:
      • describing what is being done to fix the problem and a timeline
      • providing any temporary workarounds
    • Include information about who is responsible for the accessibility of the content and their contact information so people can submit issues, suggestions, or complaints related to accessibility.
    • Describe the organization’s accessibility policy, and the work that has been done to make the resource accessible. Here, you can provide information like:
      • accessibility guidelines you are following (e.g., WCAG 2.0)
      • any federal, provincial, or state legislation you are conforming to
      • any user testing you performed[2]

    Here is a sample accessibility statement that you can adapt for your own purposes:

    Sample Accessibility Statement

    [Name of organization] believes that education needs to be available to everyone, which means supporting the creation of free, open, and accessible educational resources. We are actively committed to increasing the accessibility and usability of the textbooks we produce.

    Accessibility of This Resource

    The web version of this resource [INSERT LINK TO THE WEBBOOK HOMEPAGE] has been designed to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, level AA. In addition, it follows all guidelines in Appendix A: Checklist for Accessibility of the Accessibility Toolkit – 2nd Edition. It includes:

    • Easy navigation. This resource has a linked table of contents and uses headings in each chapter to make navigation easy.
    • Accessible math equations. Many of the equations in this resource have been written in LaTeX and rendered with MathJax, which makes them accessible to people using screen readers that are set up to read MathML. The rest of the equations are rendered as images with appropriate alternative text.
    • Accessible videos. All videos in this resource have captions.
    • Accessible images. All images in this resource that convey information have alternative text. Images that are decorative have empty alternative text.
    • Accessible links. All links use descriptive link text.

    [Note: Make sure the above list only includes content that appears in the book. If there are no videos, don’t mention videos.]

    Accessibility Checklist
    Element Requirements Pass?
    Headings Content is organized under headings and subheadings that are used sequentially.  
    Images Images that convey information include alternative text descriptions. These descriptions are provided in the alt text field, in the surrounding text, or linked to as a long description.  
    Images Images and text do not rely on colour to convey information.  
    Images Images that are purely decorative or are already described in the surrounding text contain empty alternative text descriptions. (Descriptive text is unnecessary if the image doesn’t convey contextual content information.)  
    Tables Tables include row and/or column headers that have the correct scope assigned.  
    Tables Tables include a title or caption.  
    Tables Tables do not have merged or split cells.  
    Tables Tables have adequate cell padding.  
    Links The link text describes the destination of the link.  
    Links Links do not open new windows or tabs. If they do, a textual reference is included in the link text.  
    Links Links to files include the file type in the link text.  
    Audio All audio content includes a transcript that includes all speech content and relevant descriptions of non-speech audio and speaker names/headings where necessary.  
    Video All videos include high-quality (i.e., not machine generated) captions of all speech content and relevant non-speech content.  
    Video All videos with contextual visuals (graphs, charts, etc.) are described audibly in the video.  
    H5P All H5P activities have been tested for accessibility by the H5P team and have passed their testing.  
    H5P All H5P activities that include images, videos, and/or audio content meet the accessibility requirements for those media types.  
    Formulas Formulas have been created using LaTeX and are rendered with MathJax.  
    Formulas If LaTeX is not an option, formulas are images with alternative text descriptions  
    Font Font size is 12 point or higher for body text.  
    Font Font size is 9 point for footnotes or endnotes.  
    Font Font size can be zoomed to 200% in the webbook or eBook formats.  

    Known Accessibility Issues and Areas for Improvement

    [Insert description of any known issues in a bulleted list. If none, then insert: There are currently no known accessibility issues.]

    Let Us Know if You are Having Problems Accessing This Book

    We are always looking for ways to make our resources more accessible. If you have problems accessing this resource, please contact us to let us know so we can fix the issue.

    Please include the following information:

    • The name of the resource
    • The location of the problem by providing a web address or page description.
    • A description of the problem
    • The computer, software, browser, and any assistive technology you are using that can help us diagnose and solve your issue (e.g., Windows 10, Google Chrome (Version 65.0.3325.181), NVDA screen reader)

    Here is how you can contact us: [Insert a link to a contact form and/or an email]

    This statement was last updated on [TODAY’S DATE].

    The Accessibility Checklist table was adapted by from one originally created by the Rebus Community and shared under a CC BY 4.0 licence.

    Additional resources

    For more information, refer to the following resources:

    For sample accessibility statements, refer to the following pages:


    1. "Accessibility Statement," Hassellinclusion, accessed August 23, 2018, http://www.hassellinclusion.com/accessibility/.
    2. "Creating an Accessibility Statement," Access 8878, accessed August 30, 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20161203...statement.aspx.

    2.9: Accessibility Statements is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Josie Gray.

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