June 2020 Accessibility Updates


Accessibility Heroes

Tip of the Month

Trainings & Workshops

Events & Resources


June 23, 2020

2020 is only half-way through, but it has already proven to be a year for reorienting ourselves entirely to the work we do, who it serves, and what it stands for.

Back in April, we spoke in this space about the transition to an online teaching and working environment and the centrality of digital accessibility to that process. That continues to be the case as we look forward to the fall. With few assurances of what the next six months will bring, the importance of maintaining an inclusive and equitable digital environment remains a certainty. As always, we are here to assist you in this process.

We are also thinking harder and more broadly about the intersection of race and disability. As demands for racial and social justice continue across the country, the work we do should likewise pay attention to and respond to the nuances of identity. Working to make our online environments more equitable for people with disabilities should take account of the multiple identities people inhabit at any given time—the ability to use a website or participate fully in a classroom is never simply a monolithic experience, but one informed by multiple and intersecting identities and experiences. Digital accessibility is perhaps well-positioned to think through these complexities, as our inherent orientation is to build websites and courses that the widest possible spectrum of people will be able to use. Regardless, we enthusiastically welcome your ideas about how we can do this work better at Yale. Please email us at accessibility@yale.edu for thoughts about active steps we can take to address racism in our work, and please know that we are thinking hard about this on our end.

Some victories in the interim: we completed our first Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) Challenge with many of you participating in efforts to increase the accessibility of your websites. We had not one but *two* winners, Alina Nevins in the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) and Susan Froetschel from YaleGlobal Online, and announced it with a fun video that took us a humorously long time to put together.

We also welcome our summer intern, Badreldin Ahmed, a New Haven resident joining us from UConn, where he is majoring in Computer Engineering. Badreldin will be assisting us in the coming weeks with document remediation, theme upgrades, and our UI component library. We are so grateful and pleased to have him on our team.

Finally, faculty engagement is also high as we move into the summer months. The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning has been busy providing enhanced support for faculty preparing to teach online or using hybrid methods in the fall and ensuring the accessibility of courses and course materials is essential. Faculty have been attending workshops on overall course accessibility, creating accessible PowerPoint slide decks, and captioning media. The Poorvu Center has also hired three Yale student employees to work on remediating course materials in preparation for the fall.

As always, thank you for the work you do to make Yale a more accessible campus.

Accessibility Heroes

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


Mike Best

Tech Director Yale College Undergrad Production

Mike is working to ensure that all PDFs used by undergrad production crews are accessible. He’s completed several trainings offered by the Digital Accessibility team and is proactively working to make Yale a more accessible campus.

Faculty/Graduate Students:

Emmanuel Adeniran

Social Robotics Lab

Emmanuel is a graduate student in the Computer Science department who is building a mobile app, VectorConnect, to help kids deal with isolation during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Emmanuel worked to add mobile accessibility testing into the development process to ensure people with disabilities can enjoy the app. 


Nick Appleby

Web Developer, Yale Printing & Publishing Services

In a short amount of time, Nick worked hard to make the Yale Commencement website accessible. Nick was eager to understand and implement all accessibility fixes or advice we gave him. He truly cared and had an interest in accessibility.

Tip of the Month

Add a period at the end of your alt-text.

Did you know that adding a period at the end of your alt-text image descriptions significantly improves the experience for screen reader users? A screen reader will pause, which is a more enjoyable listening experience.

This useful tip and others are available in Daniel Goransson’s Alt-Texts: The Ultimate Guide.

Trainings & Workshops

Review our trainings online

As we continue working from home, the availability of online training is not only more important and necessary than ever, it’s also more convenient than ever!

The Digital Accessibility team continues to hold all trainings online—register for any of the upcoming workshops and learn the principles of web, document, and media accessibility without having to walk across campus in the heat.

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.

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.

Developer’s Lunch-and-Learns: “404 Not Found:” Error messaging and accessibility.

Learn how to provide accessible error identification to users with disabilities. Accessible error identification benefits users who are blind or visually impaired and users with cognitive impairments. Good error identification benefits all users. Topics covered include: error identification on form submit, inline form error indication, alert box error messages, dynamic form validation and color.

“How to Make your Single Page App (SPA) Accessible.” 

Learn tips and tricks for making your single page application accessible.  This talk with include a general overview of SPA accessibility but will mostly cover React accessibility.  

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.

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.


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. All meetings are held on Zoom until further notice. Link will be shared upon registration.


Would you know how to make an accessible kiosk experience?

The Paciello Group recently published guidance for accessible kiosks. In addition to considerations about physical location and hardware, the guidance includes resources for thinking through best practices for interactive processes for people with disabilities.

Which auto-captions are best?

A break-down of some different auto-captioning options for meetings and how they stack up against each other, as rated by Meryl Evans, a Deaf blogger.

Video or Audio? Considerations for YouTubers and Podcasters

Shelly Brisbin interviews video producers—one who is blind– about their work with visual media on her podcast Parallel: A tech podcast with accessibility sprinkles.

The State of Digital Accessibility Report

The State of Digital Accessibility Report is out from Level Access. This annual report outlines data drawn from an industry survey to provide insights into overall trends. The report covers the following themes:

  • State of Accessibility Programs
  • Challenges, Risks and Motivations
  • Product Development-Design and Testing
  • Content Creation