April 2020 Accessibility Updates


Accessibility Heroes

Tip of the Month

Trainings & Workshops




April 20, 2020

What a difference two months can make!

Transitioning to an entirely online teaching and working environment means digital accessibility is more relevant than ever. As we face the challenges of making university content widely available online, holding meetings, workshops, and trainings remotely, and teaching across time zones and digital divides, our team is here to help you maintain an inclusive and equitable online environment where staff, faculty, and students can succeed.

Over the past six weeks, we have been impressed by our community’s commitment to accessibility. We’ve heard from many of you about captioning your content, making sure new applications are keyboard-only navigable, and building live-captioning into meetings. As we look forward to the next months, we welcome the opportunities this challenge presents for considering new ways to integrate accessibility into our everyday work lives.

Please note that we’ve moved all of our standard trainings online. We are also excited to present new trainings, such as the Developer’s Lunch-and-Learn Challenge for Site Owners, which will culminate with a celebration of Global Accessibility Day on May 21st. We also want to draw your attention to an unprecedented opportunity to attend sessions led by industry leaders during a free 3-day virtual accessibility conference A Future Date, April 21-23. Check the Events section below for detailed information.

Accessibility Heroes

Want to nominate someone (including yourself) as an Accessibility Hero? Email Michelle Morgan for inclusion in our next update.


Clare Ankawi, Assistant Director of Educational Technology, Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning
Patrick O’Brien-Sevilla, Communications Officer, Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning

The entire staff of the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning deserve kudos for the speed and skill with which they moved Yale faculty online. We highlight Clare and Patrick here for the particular care they’ve paid to incorporating accessibility into the Poorvu Center’s resources during this transition. Clare has updated the Poorvu Center’s online resources for Canvas accessibility and provided a workshop for building accommodations into Canvas quizzes and assignments. Patrick has made sure that all instructional and tutorial videos the Poorvu Center has created and distributed have been professionally captioned.



Jonathan Parr, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry
Narasimhan Ganapathisubramanian, Lecturer in Chemistry

Professors Parr and Ganapathisubramanian gave practice tests in Canvas, which were especially useful to students trying out their accommodations (font magnification and extra time). Students reported feeling much better about exams and quizzes having had the opportunity to practice in a no-stakes environment.



Timothy Hinckley, Director of Student and Academic Support Services

Tim manages teams within the ITS Student and Academic Support Systems (SASS) that build custom applications used by all students. He is a great proponent for building accessible solutions, providing training for his staff, and working closely with the Digital Accessibility team for consultation.

Tip of the Month

Are your Zoom meetings as accessible as they could be?

With most if not all of your meetings taking place over Zoom it’s important to take note of easy changes you can make to ensure everyone can participate in your meetings equally. The Digital Accessibility team has published a guide with tips to try, such as sharing keyboard shortcuts, describing images and other visual information you display, sending links and files shared via Chat to all participants in a post-meeting email, and more. Visit the Zoom article on Yale’s Accessibility web pages for more strategies.

Trainings & Workshops

Review our trainings online

There is no better time than now to learn new skills and brush up on old ones. The Digital Accessibility team is holding all trainings online—register for any of the upcoming workshops and learn the principles of web, document, and media accessibility from the comfort of your home office.

As a reminder, most of our trainings are also available online as screencast recordings and are a good resource when you need an accessibility refresher. Check out our Training pages for links to these videos or visit the Digital Accessibility Playlist on YouTube.

Developer’s Lunch-and-Learn: Global Accessibility Awareness Day Challenge for Site Owners *NEW*

May 21st is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. To celebrate, we invite site owners to our first Accessibility Challenge: Make one (or more!) accessibility improvements to your website daily between May 5th and May 21st. This Lunch and Learn on May 5th will kick off the event with a refresh on the nuts-and-bolts of accessibility for the web. We will follow up through the next couple of weeks with more tips for shoring up the accessibility of your sites.

Digital Accessibility Office Hours

Have a question about digital accessibility? Want a person to show you what you need to do in real time? Visit our monthly office hours to get hands-on assistance with your websites, your documents, your social media, communications, and more. Learn how to use Siteimprove, or get a manual check on that flier you’re about to send to the printer. Let us refresh your memory on making your PDFs screen-readable. You get the idea.

Web Accessibility Training for Content Editors

This two-hour workshop is designed to train staff who input content into websites how to do so in ways that meet Yale’s Web Accessibility Policy. Note: This workshop is primarily for people who create content through tools such as Wordpress or YaleSites Drupal. Visual designers and developers who program websites using HTML, CSS, or JavaScript can reach out to accessibility@yale.edu for more information on training targeted to their needs.


  • Explain the roles and responsibilities for content editors in improving the accessibility of Yale’s digital campus
  • Teach best practice for creating and editing content to be accessible
  • Share resources available to assist content editors in maintaining accessible web content

Accessible Word Documents, PowerPoint Presentations and PDFs: Basics

This beginner’s document accessibility workshop is designed to train staff in the basic methods used for making Word documents, PowerPoint Presentations, and PDFs digitally accessible, for inclusion on university websites or for university-related business, including teaching, student services, and other administrative support. It is appropriate for anyone interested in learning how to make documents used in everyday university business more accessible and will cover the fundamentals of document creation and remediation. This training does not require a computer, but attendees are encouraged to bring laptops if possible.

Captioning Your Media @ Yale: Options and Basics

Have media you need to caption, but unsure what your responsibilities are for captioning under Yale’s Accessibility Policy, where to begin, or what options are available? This two-hour training covers paid options for captioning your media through our Preferred Captioning Vendors 3Play Media and Rev.com, as well as free options, like YouTube. Attendees will leave understanding their obligations under Yale’s policy, the differences between the major captioning file types, and how to create, edit, and sync captions to their media for both Canvas courses and websites.

Social Media Accessibility: Basics

If you add content to your websites, chances are you’re also responsible for managing social media for your department or unit. Social media platforms like YouTube/Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest can present unique challenges for users with disabilities, many of which are beyond your control. 

In this training you’ll learn not only how to use the accessibility features that are available on these platforms, but also valuable workarounds to counter those that are not. Attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop or smart phone to the session, along with a piece of content—a video, tweet, or photo–you’d like to make accessible on social media (you can use a personal account if you don’t have access to Yale accounts on personal devices). We will spend the first half of the training going through the basics of social media accessibility and the second half creating accessible content ourselves.


Have an event you’d like us to feature or a resource to share? Email Michelle Morgan michelle.morgan@yale.edu for inclusion in our next update.

A Future Date: A Virtual Accessibility Conference

April 21-23, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST

An incredible line-up of sessions from accessibility conferences cancelled because of COVID-19. You can find the full schedule of sessions online.

All three days are free and do not require registration. Visit their YouTube channel and subscribe for notifications, or watch their introduction now on YouTube.

DAY (DiversAbility at Yale) Steering Committee Meeting

First Thursday of each month

12-1 pm


Please join the monthly DAY Steering Committee meetings. The meetings are an opportunity to hear what’s been happening with DAY and what is in the works. We welcome all those who are interested in getting involved and sharing their ideas. Register by sending an email to day@yale.edu.


Diagram Center’s Image Description Guidelines

The Diagram Center has extensive documentation on best practices for describing images, graphs, charts, and other complex visual aids. Refer to their guidelines whenever you have questions about alternative text and images.

Accessibility Now

The Digital Accessibility Team often fields requests from university staff asking for help making PDFs with tables accessible. Because this is a relatively difficult skill and can be time-consuming, we almost always suggest using Accessibility Now. For a small fee, Accessibility Now will properly format and tag your tables and otherwise make sure that your PDFs are ready for posting online.

Dynomapper’s 70 Resources for Designing for Accessibility

There are a lot of accessibility resources online and it can be hard to keep track of them all. Dynomapper has a great list that breaks online resources down into categories such as Organizations and Institutions, Helpful Resources, Briefs and Reports, Web Accessibility for Libraries, WCAG Checklists, Disability Law, and more.