GAAD 2022 Q&A: Accessibility Demystified

May 19, 2022

  1. Q: Can you explain how OCR helps with dyslexia?

    A: OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, scans images and converts each text character into a recognizable format so that assistive technologies can then recognize and read that text.

    Blind people are unable to read text that is in images. Individuals who have dyslexia sometimes use assistive technologies to help them more easily read text. They may use an application that converts text within a PDF to a font that is designed to be easier to read for individuals with dyslexia. They may use screen reader software to have digital text read aloud to them.

    These assistive technologies rely on text being recognizable, but by default, text within images is not recognizable. Assistive technologies will only be able to recognize that there is an image present. That's where OCR comes in.

  2. Q: Will the option for mp3 download work even when a pdf has not been made fully accessible?

    A: In such a case, the fidelity of the downloaded mp3 — that is, how accurately it communicated the PDF's contents — would depend on the PDF's accessibility.

    For example, if there was text within the PDF that was not recognizable to assistive technologies, that text would not be communicated through the downloaded mp3.

    For the most accurate mp3s, improve the accessibility of PDFs before downloading them as mp3s.

  3. Q: Is Ally available as a tool for staff preparing training / documents for staff / faculty training?

    If your campus has an Ally license, Ally is available via an integration with the Learning Management System. Other tools, like SensusAccess, can also convert training content to different accessible formats. Contact your Electronic Accessibility Committee campus representative to find out if your campus has a license. If your campus doesn't have a license for either Ally or SensusAccess, you can look into getting Scribe.

  4. Q: Is Ally something that UCOP provides to all campuses?

    A: It is not centrally funded by UCOP. Individual campuses would need to purchase Ally.

  5. Q: Can you define LMS?

    A: Learning Management System, like Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas, etc.

  6. Q: When sending messages to an email list, is it better to refrain from using the Rich Text format option that is available on many email clients, in order to best ensure accessibility?

    A: Not necessarily. You can still create broadly accessible emails using the Rich Text format, as long as you follow general accessibility principles, such as not using tables for layout purposes, using descriptive link text, using contrast-compliant colors, etc.

    One notable accessibility limitation with the Rich Text format involves images: screen readers may not be able to recognize images in Rich Text emails or read their assigned alt text, so don't rely on those capabilities. Either: A) use an email format, like HTML, that does allow screen readers to read image alt text; or B) ensure that any information you intend to convey through alt text is conveyed through an alternate, accessible means, such as through text within the email.

  7. Q: Two-part question regarding the need for descriptive link text: 1) does that guidance apply to CTA (call to action) buttons as well; and 2) if the text becomes too long for a CTA button (which typically has only a few words), would the only option be to replace the CTA button with a hyperlink instead?


    1. Yes, the text within call to action buttons should be descriptive enough that, by reading the text alone, users can gain a sense of what each button will do or where each button will take them.

    2. Using a hyperlink instead of a button wouldn't be the only option, but it would be more highly recommended, since it's a universally accessible and easy-to-apply approach. You could also invest time in brainstorming ways to shorten the button text while still keeping it sufficiently descriptive.

  8. Q: Can you address how to actually set up a page for good keyboard navigation? how can an average user adjust the order in which things are landed on with Tab?

    A: Tab order — that is, the order in which users encounter interactive elements when using the Tab key to navigate forward through computer environments and the Shift+Tab keys to navigate backwards — is determined differently in different settings but generally aligns with the order of elements you see visually; this is true with emails, with individual pages within Word documents and with content within Rich Text Editors, where interactive elements will be encountered in a traditional left-to-right, top-to-bottom order.

    If you're using a Content Management System (CMS), like Cascade, or Learning Management System (LMS), like Canvas, be aware that certain sections will be encountered in full before other sections are encountered. For instance, users may have to tab through each interactive element in a page's left-hand navigation menu before they can reach the interactive elements in the page's body section.

    Also, beware that in PowerPoint slides, order is determined by the Selection pane. Elements ordered lower in the Selection pane will be encountered before elements order higher in the Section pane — it's counterintuitive.

    Strive to implement the tab order and/or reading order that best facilitates comprehension and engagement for keyboard navigators and other assistive technology users.

  9. Q: I like your GAAD background. Where can I download it?

    A: Zoom Background (png). This and other great resources from UC GAAD 2022 can also be found in the Resources section of the Accessibility Demystified web page.

  10. Q: Is a UC-wide procurement of Blackboard Ally on the roadmap?

    A: Not at this time.

  11. Q: We have been increasingly using Zoom for large meetings, some of which include breakout sessions. We use the captioning feature in the main sessions, but that feature is not available in breakout sessions. Zoom recommends using a "third-party closed captioning service." Does UC have plans to make this service available?

    A: We've been informed that Zoom is not currently capable of providing this feature. If captions will be needed in breakout rooms, you should reach out to your location's office of disability management for assistance in pursuing a third-party closed captioning service.

  12. Q: What are some specific tips or tools for making webinars like this accessible - especially when there are slides or a presentation?

    A: For specific recommendations on accessibility within Zoom, check out our Zoom and Accessibility web page.

  13. Q: Are there any accessibility awareness events like today's focused on physical accessibility (event spaces, flyers, sign-in sheets, giveaways, etc.) since we have so more and more in-person events these days?

    A: Check with the disability management office at your location to learn what events and other resources are available on the topic of accessibility within physical environments.

    You can also explore the other events offered each year in association with Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

    The UC Electronic Accessibility Committee is primarily focused on accessibility within electronic environments, but we'll consider this topic for our future GAAD webinar. In the meantime, we encourage you to explore this Universal Design of Physical Spaces guidances offered by our peers at the University of Washington.