February 2019 Accessibility Updates


February 19, 2019

The Digital Accessibility Team has been busy this month and is excited to offer new and expansive training opportunities for university staff and faculty. In March we are offering a 2-day intensive accessibility training session with a nationally-recognized accessibility expert from Microassist, a consulting firm in Austin, TX. This training is geared for designers and developers who want to increase their accessibility skills. Please see below for more details about this opportunity and share it widely with any developers and designers on campus you may know!

In partnership with the Office of the University Printer, we’ve also just completed a day-long training with an accessibility expert in Adobe InDesign, which was aimed primarily at designers on campus who create documents for the web. We have also completed multiple trainings for university Registrars and Access Librarians.

We always welcome your ideas for trainings, or other opportunities to come to your space with programming. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Accessibility Heroes

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

Websites and Web Applications

Mobile and Web Application Team, ITS

After nearly 18 months of development, working closely with the Office of Public Affairs & Communications, the ITSWEB Web Technology Mobile and Web Application team released new iOS and Android version of the Yale mobile app. These new versions were redesigned and rewritten from the ground up for improved usability and accessibility, with much of the work being done by student developers. The iOS app was released as an update but the Android app needed to be released as a separate app from the old version - to download it please visit http://bit.ly/2tsLq9y.

Special thanks to Harry Shyket for his substantial work on both platforms.

Faculty & Instructional Staff

American Studies

Matthew Jacobson, William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies & History, Professor of African American Studies, Chair of the American Studies Program

In a message to American Studies faculty, Professor Jacobson advocated for faculty to make their course materials accessible, and referred them to the accessibility team for assistance.


Organizational Effectiveness and Staff Development

Travis Holyfield, Deni Cifuentes and Stephanie Gosteli

Travis, Deni, and Stephanie have gone above and beyond in making the documents they create more accessible, working incredibly hard to remediate complex tables and to make sure the documents they post online and distribute to Yale staff are the very best they can be.

Tip of the Month

Readable fonts

The font you choose affects the accessibility of your webpages and documents. But how do you know if your font is readable?  

Your best bet is not to get too creative. Accessibility experts suggest using “standard fonts that are available on the end users’ device.” You should also minimize the number of fonts you use in a single document or webpage, since multiple fonts can be “especially difficult for users with reading disorders, learning disabilities, or attention deficit disorders.”

Whether your materials are digital or printed further complicates your choice of font. A general rule of thumb has been to use serif fonts for print and sans serif fonts for digital materials, but recent studies have not conclusively determined that sans serif fonts are better for web design. Rather, other typographic considerations, such as spacing between letters, seems to play an equally important role in a font’s readability.

For an in-depth look at fonts and accessibility, please consult WebAIM’S Font article.

 Examples of different kinds of fonts, including both serif and sans serif types.

Trainings & Workshops

Digital Accessibility for Developers and Designers

Tuesday March 19 and Wednesday March 20, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Mason Laboratory Rm 211

Yale welcomes Hiram Kuykendall, nationally-known web accessibility expert and CTO of Microassist, to deliver accessibility training for all Yale developers and designers. During this two-day workshop we will envision, plan, construct and test an accessible slot machine. The class will be challenged to understand why we strive to make accessible experiences as well as the technical aspects of application development. The class will begin with building a roadmap for accessible application development that includes answering the business case for accessible development, selection of accessibility testing tools targeting team roles and will work through the user experience design process. During this process, the participant will be provided with templates and checklists based on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 principles which will be used to create the specifications for day two. On day two, the participants will begin the process of applying the work from day one through remediation and enhancement of a base prototype. At each stage of development, the participant is challenged to understand the deeper accessibility implications of each decision with the goal of creating a truly usable experience that goes beyond technical compliance.

NOTE: This is a two day offering, March 19 - 20 (Tue-Wed), 9 am - 4 pm each day. Day one has been optimized to embrace the largest audience possible to include non-developers. Day two includes heavy application development and requires participants to be able to open, modify and view web pages. For more information, please visit https://usability.yale.edu/web-accessibility/training/2-day-intensive.


  • Understand how to build a project business case that incorporates accessibility requirements.
  • Install and use assistive technology and accessibility testing tools to help build accessible solutions.
  • Learn to define application requirements that incorporate accessibility features.
  • Learn to use a WCAG checklist to develop product specifications and testing requirements, and to guide coding decision.


  • UX/UI Designers
  • Web Developers
  • Project Managers (Day 1)
  • Quality Assurance Analysts (Day 1)
  • Everyone (Day 1-Morning)

Requirements: To make the most of this session, we ask that each participant bring a laptop with headphones and have the ability to install accessibility testing software (admin rights). Having a mobile device (Android, iPhone or iPad) is also recommended. Advanced coding experience is not required. For those staying for the second day: a local development environment should be setup (like VS Code); working knowledge of HTML; conceptual understanding of JavaScript

YaleSites – Special Topics: Accessibility Basics

Wednesday, March 27 from 2:30-4pm in 221 Whitney, training room 2

This class will cover the basics of website accessibility, as well as the actions you can take to improve or create an accessible website. Topics include link text, image text, heading structure, imagery and more! This class is recommended to anyone who works on a Yale website in some capacity, or for those with an interest in accessibility. Basic knowledge of YaleSites content editing is highly recommended before taking this session.

Web Accessibility Training for Content Editors

Wednesday, April 17 from 12-4pm in 25 Science Park room 321

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 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

Tuesday, March 26 from 9-10:30 am at the Poorvu Center for Teaching & Learning, Room 321

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.

Accessible PDFs: Advanced

Thursday, February 21 from 9:00 am- 10:30 am 25 Science Park Room 321

This workshop is designed for those who make PDFs for inclusion on university websites or for other university-related business, and want to try their hand at some of the advanced techniques for making accessible PDFs using Adobe Acrobat Pro. The techniques that will be reviewed are helpful to know if you desire to make PDFs accessible in situations where you don’t have the original source files (Word files, etc.). If you haven’t first attended our basic document remediation course (or have an understanding of making accessible Office documents and exporting to PDF), you should consider signing up for that course first. The training room at 25 Science Park has computers and access to Acrobat Pro DC. Attendees are encouraged to bring laptops if they prefer working on their own computers. Practice files will be provided. Following along with the instructor has proven beneficial for some who have taken the training.

Events & Resources

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.


Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry & Clothing Closet

Saturday, March 2

8 am-11am

57 Olive Street, New Haven, CT

Please join Yale’s LGBTQ Affinity Group and DiversAbility at Yale (DAY) for a volunteer opportunity at Loaves & Fishes, a local organization offering a weekly food pantry and clothing closet. If you cannot volunteer but would still like to help, please drop off clothing and toiletry items at the Yale Repertory Theatre box office, 1120 Chapel Street (at York) until Thursday, February 28 (M-F between 10 am and 5 pm).

DAY Steering Committee Meeting

Thursday, March 7

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 day@yale.edu. Zoom is available if you cannot attend the meeting in person.


Accessible Design

Designers of both digital and printed materials will find this Accessible Palette tool by Cloudflare Design extremely helpful in simultaneously expanding their choice of color schemes in their designs and maintaining accessibility compliance. It has loads of features, including suggested palettes based on user-provided photos, the ability to toggle between WCAG 2.0 AA and WCAG 2.1 AAA standards, and simulators that will demonstrate how your palette will appear to 8 different kinds of color blindness.