It is important to make sure that your documents are accessible to as many people as possible. Please write reports and other research documentation with accessibility in mind. For tutorials, checklists, and guidelines, see https://www.section508.gov/create/documents/
Excerpt from Texas Department of Information Resources https://dir.texas.gov/electronic-information-resources-eir-accessibility/eir-accessibility-roles-responsibilities/eir :
State agencies and institutions of higher education are required to comply with Texas EIR Accessibility statutes and rules to provide accessibility.
TGC 2054.451, enacted in 2005, requires that all state agencies and institutions of higher education, provide state employees and members of the public access to and use of electronic information resources.
1 TAC 213 enacted state standards for procurement, development, or usage of EIR for people with disabilities and also aligns accessibility standards with the federal regulations set forth in Section 508.
UT Web Publishing https://webpublishing.utexas.edu/accessibility/best-practices
If your website is used by all of the students at a university, an inaccessible website could put the university at risk for a lawsuit
UTS 150 Access by Persons with Disabilities to Electronic and Information Resources Procured or Developed by The University of Texas System Administration and The University of Texas System Institutions https://www.utsystem.edu/sites/policy-library/policies/uts-150-access-persons-disabilities-electronic-and-information-resources-procured-or-developed-university-of-texas-system-administration-and-university-of-texas-system-institutions
Sec. 2 Compliance: The U. T. System Administration and all U. T. System institutions must comply with the DIR Accessibility Rules when developing, procuring, maintaining, or using EIRs....
...Definitions: Electronic and Information Resources (EIRs) - defined by statute and rule to include...Internet websites - please note that such websites include, but are not limited to, “state websites”, defined as websites that are owned, operated by or for, or funded by a Texas institution of higher education, and including both ► the home page (the initial page or entry point to a state website), and ► any key public entry points (i.e., web pages that are specifically designed for members of the general public to access official information, including the governing or authoritative documents, from the institution of higher education); multimedia resources... electronic and information resource services provided through hosted or managed services contracts; any of the above EIRs that are developed, procured, or changed by a contractor of a State agency or an institution of higher education, if the contract either requires the use of such EIRs or requires the contractor to use such EIRs, to a significant extent, in performing a service or furnishing a product...
University Handbook, 2022, Chapter 6 Section 1:
Each university shall provide electronic deliverables that meet federal requirements for digital accessibility (WCAG 2.0 Level AA), particularly alternative text for images, to allow for easy conversion for online, public publication and access meeting legal requirements. If the University does not have the resources to publish an approved deliverable in accordance with RTI’s instructions, the University may contact RTI to discuss potential options. TxDOT may opt to publish the deliverable, using TxDOT or other resources.
University Handbook, 2022, Chapter 1 Section 1:
This handbook, TxDOT’s Research Manual, and the CRIA agreed to with each University, provide an overview and governs certain aspects of the Research Program. Other sources of contractual guidance include individual Project Agreements and Federal Law. Federal Law shall be considered the highest authority should any conflicts arise between these documents. This handbook provides the framework and policies under which Universities may participate in the Research Program and establishes the procedures that implement the policies expressed in the Research Manual. By signing a CRIA, each University, or University system, agrees to TxDOT procedures related to the Research Program, and this handbook presents some of those procedures.
- TxDOT Research Library indexed accessibility resources: https://library.ctr.utexas.edu/Presto/search/SearchResults_ClearCriteria.aspx?q=(catalog.category:accessibility)
- Use the accessibility tools built into MS Office and other products that you use to create documents. Checklists for specific applications: https://webaim.org/resources/evaloffice/
- AASHTO RAC Presentation about Accessibility: AASHTOSummerRAC2019_Section508ComplianceFinal_7-19-2017.pdf
- NOAA Central Library Accessibility LibGuide: https://libguides.library.noaa.gov/Section508/CreatingDocs
- National Transportation Library Accessibility LibGuide: https://transportation.libguides.com/accessibility/resources
- Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities Access to Information: https://gov.texas.gov/organization/disabilities/accessible_communications
Accessible Tables: A PowerPoint presentation by Michael Molina, Oklahoma DOT, June 9, 2021. https://transportation.libguides.com/ld.php?content_id=61899149
Non-text content (images and equations) must include alt text that screen readers can use to describe the content.
- UTRGV handout: https://www.utrgv.edu/eolc/_files/2017/posters/handouts/a-guide-to-alternative-text.pdf
- A decision tree for creating alt-text https://www.w3.org/WAI/tutorials/images/decision-tree/
Before finalizing a document, screenshot and re-insert multi-component charts, graphs, equations, or Smart Art graphics so that alt-text can be added to describe the whole image instead of writing alt-text for each individual component (e.g., chart lines, arrows, photo collages, photos with overlay drawings, etc)
Detailed Alt-text best practices (includes comparisons of good versus unacceptable alt-text):
Mathematical symbols, calculations, equations
- Penn State Guidance for accessible equations (including LaTeX guidance): https://accessibility.psu.edu/math/equations/
- Michigan DOT guidance handout (11 pages): https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT-Research-Accessibility-Guidelines_658743_7.pdf
Mathspeak (examples of shorthand for use in alt-text): https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/quick-tutorial/index.php?verbosity=b&explicitness=0&interp=all
For complex equations that include matrices, layout, nested fractions, etc., It could be helpful to review samples the MathSpeak super-brief semantics to incorporate shorthand alt-text like
"StartFrac"/"EndFrac" bookends for identifying complex fractions https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/grammar-rules/?rule=fractions&description=Fractions&id=7
"StartRoot"/"EndRoot" bookends for identifying square root calculations https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/grammar-rules/?rule=radicals&description=Radicals&id=9
"l-par"/"r-par" or "l-brace"/"r-brace" for left- and right-parentheses or left- and right-braces
"Sub"/"Base" and "Sup"/"Base" for identifying the beginning and end of complex subscripts and superscripts, and "SupSup" to identify a superscript within a superscript: https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/grammar-rules/?rule=scripts&description=Superscripts%20and%20Subscripts&id=8
"ModAbove"/"With" and "ModBelow"/"With" to indicate modifiers: https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/grammar-rules/?rule=stacked&description=Modifiers%20and%20Stacked%20Expressions&id=11
- Describing Matrices and binomials: https://www.seewritehear.com/accessible-mathml/mathspeak/examples/grammar-rules/?rule=linearalg&description=Linear%20Algebra&id=15
To test color contrast, you need the exact value for each color used. If testing colors that are on a website, try a color picker browser add-on to find this value. For desktop applications, free software such as Paciello Group's free Colour Contrast Analyser may help.
- Graph design, color, and accessibility
Bar Chart design, color, and accessibility
Even if you are color-coding charts, make sure values or labels are included with each bar for screen readers. If the color differences are significant to understanding the chart, make sure that they have sufficient color contrast and difference in darkness for a colorblind user to interpret.
Example 1. The below bar chart includes labels on each bar. Color contrast needs to be checked to make sure that there is enough contrast between the white text (foreground) and the red, orange, blue, and gray bars (background). In addition, if the bar colors are significant and correspond with a key, then the contrast between each bar color also needs to be checked.
- Checked on the Coblis free online colorblindness simulator. In this case, for readers with monochromacy, there is little to no difference between the orange and the gray bars. The difference between the red and the blue bars could also be easily confused.
To check the foreground (text) against the background (bar), check the color codes on WebAIM's Contrast Checker or other tool.