Center for Academic Technologies

About Information Technology

What Is Digital Accessibility?

Digital accessibility is when technology has been designed in a way so that it can be accessed by all users. This includes electronic documents, websites, software, hardware, video, audio, and other digital assets. Our campus community members who interact with technology are extremely diverse. They have a wide variety of characteristics, and we cannot assume that they’re all using a traditional monitor for output, or a keyboard and mouse for input.

Many of the applications we use to communicate, collaborate, and share, enable accessibility, but access for all doesn't happen by default. Everyone who shares content in a digital format (course sites, websites, emails, documents, presentations, etc.) must take action to create an equitable experience for all. 

What Does Accessibility Mean?

Accessibility ensures everyone can perceive, understand, engage, navigate, and interact with technology regardless of device, software, or product without barriers. 

Accessibility is not about disability; it's actually about ability. It's about making it easy for everyone to:

  • Acquire the same information
  • Engage in the same interactions
  • Enjoy the same services

Accessibility is for everyone.

Why Accessibility?

Accessibility is extremely important on many levels, for many people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018) reports that about 1 in 4 adults in the United States have some kind of disability. It is important to know that many disabilities are not visible, and students are not required to disclose that information. In fact, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, only about 24% of students with Specific Learning Disabilities officially disclosed that fact when they got to college. Reasons include fear of discrimination, low self-esteem, and lack of self-advocacy skills. Likewise, faculty or staff members may also have an invisible disability. It is entirely possible, in fact highly likely, that there are people on campus who face barriers that others are unaware of (e.g. Fibromyalgia, ADHD, color blindness).

Disabilities can be permanent (such as being blind, having only one arm, or living with ADHD), temporary (having a broken arm or cataracts), or situational (driving a car, holding a baby, or sharing the internet with multiple family members). Many of us will experience some kind of barrier or disability at some point in our lives.

Remote coursework presents many factors that affect the way faculty teach and students learn. These include:

  • Not having high-speed internet
  • Sharing internet access
  • Working long hours or multiple jobs
  • Managing mental health stresses
  • Studying with a baby or young child around
  • Lacking a quiet learning environment

Accessibility helps those with disabilities. It also helps everyone who is experiencing less than optimal work or learning conditions. Accessible teaching practices are a proactive way to help improve the learning experience for all students, regardless of their situation. When you design materials with accessibility in mind, they work better for everyone—which means that people will feel included, because they are.

Guidelines and Laws

We often don’t know the audiences of our content intimately, which means that there is a good chance that we may not be aware that an audience member is experiencing a disability, either permanent, temporary, or situational. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, accessibility is a human right. When information and communication technologies are inaccessible, people with disabilities are denied equitable access to education, employment, and involvement in society. 

In 2012, the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 were established as the international standard by the International Organization for Standardization. In 2018, the United States adopted this as our national standard. Federal law in the United States covers accessibility in sections 504 (public sector) and 508 (government and higher education) of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (public and private sector). In addition, the State of California has digital accessibility laws and the California State University Chancellor's office requires campuses to adhere to accessibility policies under the CSU Executive Order 1111.

Making your content accessible respects people with disabilities and their civil rights, expands your audience, and helps everyone take advantage of features and formats that meet their individual needs. Put very simply, it’s just the right thing to do.

    Assistive Technology

    Assistive technology products are specialty hardware and software products (screen readers, voice recognition) that provide essential accessibility to computers for those with significant vision, hearing, dexterity and mobility, language communication or learning needs.

    SDR Advisors

    To put in a Work ticket for training or consultation, please use the link below.

    Kurzweil 3000 v.16: Student information Download & Self Registration



    VIDEO Tutorial: Installing Kurzweil 3000.

    Login for student self registration: Students must self register in order to use Kurzweil, here is the link

    Campus Assistive Technology

    • Dragon Dictation Software-Speech to text
    • Kurzweil Literacy Software-Reads out loud
    • Zoomtext-Magnification Software
    • NVDA-Non-Visual Desktop Access, screen-reading for vision impaired
    • Adobe Acrobat

    Campus locations with assistive technology:

    • Health & Wellness Bldg Student Disability and Accessibility Center (SDAC), - JAWS, Zoomtext, Kurzweil, Dragon, Document Zoom Camera
    • Library First Floor Cafe Kurzweil (all PC's)
    • Library First Floor Assistive Tech Lab - Dragon, Zoomtext, Kurzweil, Topaz Desktop Magnifier, Book/Document Scanner
    • Library First Floor Cafe, Dictation Room, - Dragon, Kurzweil
    • Library Second Floor, UROC - Zoomtext, Kurzweil, Dragon
    • Library Second Floor, CLC - Kurzweil, Zoomtext
    • Heron Hall, Room 155 - TBD
    • Beach Hall, CAT - Kurzweil, JAWS screen reader, Zoomtext,


    Other Resources: Free Assistive Technology Applications


    What is ATbar? ATbar has been created as an open-source, cross-browser toolbar to help users customise the way they view and interact with web pages. The concept behind ATbar is simple: One toolbar to provide all of the functionality you would usually achieve through the use of different settings or products.

    ATbar is free and allows you to change the look and feel of webpages, increase and decrease font sizes, have text read aloud, use colored overlays, readability and a dictionary to aid reading. Spell check forms and try word prediction when writing. It is a simple tool which is available for most popular browsers.

    Open source cross browser toolbar available at

    Image of AT Toolbar with icons
    Image of AT Toolbar with icons

    Notetaker recorder app for iphone/ipad

    Non Visual Desktop Access NVDA (link below)

    Download NVDA the latest version of the free screen reader made by users for users.

    Accessible Media Converter Follow four easy steps to have your document converted into an alternative, accessible format. The result is delivered in your email inbox. You may upload one or more files, enter a URL to a file or simply type in the text you wish to have converted. The form expands as you make your selections.