Web accessibility at the U-M

This site will help you to understand what the accessibility requirements are for your online resources, how to meet those requirements, and what resources you have at your disposal. Accessibility means making your site available to the widest possible audience. It is helpful to think of accessibility in terms of inclusive design. The British Standards Institute (2005) defines inclusive design as: “The design of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible … without the need for special adaptation or specialized design.”

Both the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 prohibit colleges and universities from discriminating against students, faculty, and staff with disabilities. Case law is putting the spotlight on our University’s websites and videos. More importantly, web accessibility is the right thing to do: people with disabilities are attempting to read your content. They have a right to participate fully in our online community.

When using this website to implement accessibility for your website, you should be aware of the following:

  • Priority should be given to new and revised website development when implementing accessibility. This doesn’t mean that you can ignore existing online resources that are necessary for participation in the University community, but it is more effective to implement accessibility from the inception of a web project than to do so retroactively.
  • The best practices detailed on this site are based on the de facto world standard of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). Section 508 guidelines have been aligned with WCAG 2.0.
  • The University’s Web Accessibility Coordinator, and the U-M Web Accessibility Working Group can provide you with the support and advice you need to make your site accessible.