November 2018 Accessibility Updates


November 27, 2018

It’s hard to believe that we are already staring down the remainder of 2018 and the end of the Fall semester. With only a couple weeks left to go before students head home for winter break, we’re in a mad rush to get things done before campus empties out.

Despite that rush, December is also a prime time to make note of the things we need to achieve before we all disappear and in preparation for the next semester. We’re looking forward to having broader and deeper conversations about how to best support accessibility efforts across the university. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us now to help implement enhanced accessibility processes into your plans for next semester.  Simply email to get in touch.

Table of Contents

Tip of the Month

OCR Your PDFs!

The single most useful thing you can do to make PDFs baseline accessible is to make sure they are OCR’d. OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. This is the process whereby an image of text is turned into readable text that text-to-speech technology can announce out loud.

The quickest way to check if your PDF is OCR’d is to open it and try to select the text. If you can select the text, it has already gone through the OCR process. If you can’t, you will need to OCR it yourself.

For directions on OCRing your PDFs, visit the PDFs page on Yale’s Accessibility website.

Trainings & Workshops

YaleSites – Special Topics: Accessibility Basics

Wednesday, December 5 from 2:30-4pm in 221 Whitney, training room 4

Wednesday, January 9 from 2:30-4pm in 221 Whitney, training room 4

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

Thursday, February 14 from 9am-12pm in 25 Science Park room 321

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 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

Monday, December 3 from 2:30-4 pm at the Center for Teaching and Learning, Room 121

Thursday, December 13 from 2:00-3:30 at Cohen Auditorium, Child Study Center

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 November 29, 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. Doing advanced PDF remediation is admittedly tricky, and is not something that we expect many at Yale to master. 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 for inclusion in our next update.


Wondering how accessibility works for social media? Want to increase your visibility on Instagram? 3PlayMedia offers a free 30-min webinar about social media accessibility that touches on topics like captioning your Instagram videos and best practices for social media content.

If you do any kind of design or UX work whatsoever and want to know how to make your work more accessible, check out the Inclusive Design 24’s series of videos recorded during their one-day virtual conference. Topics include “Using Cognitive Walkthroughs to Better Review Designs for Accessibility,” “Accessible Charts Done Right,” “Diverse Representations in Design and Awkward Conversations with Colleagues,” and many, many more.

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

Denise George, Senior Administrative Assistant, Faculty Support & Communications, MCDB

Denise made a significant difference in the accessibility of the MCDB website and worked to make sure changes were implemented by September 1. Some of the changes she made included changing the Undergraduate and Graduate Handbooks from PDFs to HTML, a process which included converting the handbooks from PDFs to editable PDFs, and then copying the information to Drupal Book pages and formatting them correctly. According to Denise, “I just wanted to make sure that nobody lost out on information simply because they couldn’t use their screen-readers on our website. Some people think that it’s only blind people that need help with websites–which is still super-important—but people with Dyslexia also can benefit from these accessibility efforts and they deserve their best chance at success, too.”

Julie Parry, Communications Officer, Internal Medicine

Julie completed a lot of accessibility work on the Internal Medicine sites, including remediating site documents. Using Google Analytics to prioritize which sites needed attention first, she also brought others into her accessibility efforts, encouraging staff to attend training.


ENG 114/115 Coordinators

Rasheed Tazudeen, English 114 Course Affiliate

Arthur Wang, English 114 Instructor

Felisa Baynes-Ross, English 114 Course Affiliate

Ryan Wepler, Associate Director of Undergraduate Writing

Heather Klemman, Director of Expository Writing

After a conversation about accommodations and accessibility with new instructors in the English department, Heather Klemman, Rasheed Tazudeen, Ryan Wepler, and Arthur Wang organized a panel discussion for 30+ English faculty that focused on ways they can make their course materials more accessible. The panel discussion included a reading of Margaret Prices’s Mad at School, which presented a theoretical framework for practical ideas about creating space for mental illness and disabilities in the classroom, tips about making course materials accessible for students who use screen readers, and information about the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and how to implement it.


Rebecca Martz, Publications Specialist, Office of the University Printer

Rebecca attended a training on making digital documents more accessible. After the training, she put in extra effort to investigate the ways accessibility features should be incorporated into the process of creating publications in Adobe InDesign. Her commitment to learning the best practices for making accessible source documents will save time on PDF remediation, and she will serve as a great source of information for other designers across the university.