August 2019 Accessibility Updates


August 20, 2019

As always, summer went by too fast. Fall will likely pass just as quickly. The Digital Accessibility team would like to draw your attention to events happening in the next couple months so you can put them on your calendars now.

First, did you know that October is Disability Awareness Month at Yale? There are a lot of events across campus planned accordingly—please look in the Events section of this update for more information and keep a lookout for more that will be announced along the way.

Next, Canvas users will notice that we have implemented Ally, an accessibility scanning and remediation tool, in our Learning Management System. If you select one of the colored dials next to documents and other media in your Canvas course sites you’ll be provided an accessibility score for that item, along with instructions on how to improve the file’s score. For more information about Ally, check out this quick video, which highlights some of its features, or visit Canvas’s Ally help documentation.

Lastly, we’ve created several new resources and trainings over the summer for the accessibility community. Please refer to our new UI Component Library highlighted in the Tip of the Month and Resources sections, below, attend Siteimprove and Social Media Training offered through our Training & Workshops, and learn more about captioning your videos at Yale by visiting our website’s updated Multimedia page.


Accessibility Heroes

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


Carissa Violante, Assistant Director, Digital Marketing, Yale Alumni Association

Carissa reached out to the Digital Accessibility team for guidance about the accessibility of Sprout Social, a social media management platform. Carissa proactively reached out to the company as well, asking for a VPAT to ensure the accessibility of the software.


Alice Read, Digital Officer, Paul Mellon Center

Alice’s managing supervisor, Tom Scott, nominated Alice with the following words: “Since she was hired in December 2018, Alice has worked tirelessly to bring our institutional website in line with Yale’s Web Accessibility policy. She has, with the help of an independent contractor, undertaken a full web accessibility audit against WCAG 2.1. Alice ensured that all of the structural and design issues were addressed and is making significant progress on the content. She is in the process of managing the transcription of hundreds of hours of audio-visual footage of our recorded events, rewriting our content, and producing alt-descriptions for the thousands of works of art and architecture that illustrate our pages. In addition to this she is teaching our staff and contributors about how they can help open up our content to more diverse audiences: she has prepared a web publishing policy, a style guide, and numerous ‘how-to’ guides for creating accessible content with cultural heritage material.”

Tip of the Month

Accessible Forms are Within Your Reach!

Are you a developer and want to know how to make forms accessible while conforming with Yale University’s Style guidelines? The Form section of our new UI Component Library includes an excellent and extensive description of all the elements you’ll want to consider when building accessible forms, as well as the code and instructions necessary to do so.

Trainings & Workshops

NEW WORKSHOP: Siteimprove

Siteimprove is a self-service application available to all Yale faculty and staff to give website owners the insight they need to work towards improving the quality and accessibility of their sites, optimize the site for search engine discovery, and capture basic analytics about site use to help prioritize improvement efforts. This training will include hands-on activities. There are computers available for use in the training room. However, if you prefer, you may bring your own laptop. 

This training will cover features of Siteimprove, including:

  • Accessibility
  • Quality Assurance
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Policy
  • Reports

We’ll provide steps to get started:

  • Requesting access and adding sites
  • Common Quality Assurance tasks
  • Discovering PDF documents
  • Accessibility quick wins

Web Accessibility Training for Content Editors

This half-day 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 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.

Developer’s Lunch-and-Learn: Accessibility

Yale ITS believes that learning accessibility and front-end best practices should be an ongoing, permanent process of training and skills development. To support developers‘ continuing education, the Digital Accessibility Team is hosting monthly brown-bags where developers can bring their lunches and learn something about accessibility that they can begin implementing right away.

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, 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.

NEW WORKSHOP: 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 work-arounds 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.

Events & Resources

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


DAY (DiversAbility at Yale) Steering Committee Meeting

Thursday September 5

Thursday October 3

12-1 pm

221 Whitney Ave Conference Rm 612

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. Lunch will be provided. Register by sending an email to Zoom is available if you cannot attend the meeting in person.

Panel Discussion: Teachable Moments: Learning from Parents of Children with a Disability

October 16


55 Whitney Ave Rm 369

Webinar: Being a Better Ally for All

Geared towards librarians, but useful for everyone!

October 16

12-1 pm

Cushing/Whitney Medical Library

Café Con Leche with YLNG

Partnership designed to educate community about disability facts while experiencing Latin coffee.

October 16, 2019

12 -1pm AND 1:30–2:30pm

221 Whitney Ave, Rm 109 (Diane Chandler) AND 800 Howard Ave, LL05 Conference Rm (Shylo Gonzales)

PLAY: Girls

Touch Tour and Audio Description: Saturday October 19 at 2 pm

Open Captioning: Saturday October 26 at 2 pm

Contact Yale Repertory Theatre’s Accessibility Services for more information.


UI Component Library

The Yale UI Component Library was made to help developers build interfaces that match Yale’s visual identity and follow WCAG 2 AA accessibility recommendations. Components include Alerts, Breadcrumbs, Buttons, Forms, Images, List Group, Modal Dialogs, Tables, and Utilities, with more to be added in future updates.