Web Accessibility is the practice of making websites and web applications inclusive and usable by people with all levels of abilities and disabilities. When approached correctly, sites and applications can be made accessible, thus ensuring that all users have equal access to information and functionality.
The Accessibility team evaluates internal and external MIT websites and applications. We use a combination of web standards (W3C, WAI, WCAG), custom MIT and federal accessibility guidelines (Section 504 and 508) to assess projects.
Primary goals include:
- Building awareness and an understanding of accessibility and its core principles across the institute.
- Educating developers and stakeholders on laws related to accessibility and MIT's legal obligations.
- Assisting product development groups in applying accessibility principles to their work.
- Providing accessibility consulting services to clients across the institute and within IS&T.
Note: The UN Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities recognizes access to information and communication technologies, including the web, as a basic human right.
We are internal consultants to the entire MIT community and there is no charge for our services.
Primary services and methods include:
Accessibility design reviews
Perform accessibility evaluation of websites and applications. Identification of issues based on established accessibility principles and guidelines. Assess the surface of the website (color combinations, fonts, readability, etc) or application to ensure optimal accessibility for the widest audience possible including members who may have temporary or permanent disabilities i.e. blind, deaf, cognitive and learning disabilities, motor impairments, color blindness, etc. Improvement recommendations to increase accessibility are provided post-review.
Evaluate the underlying structure of the code against Web standards and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. A combination of automated testing tools and human evaluation of code are used to create a final assessment of the code. Recommendations and code samples are provided post-review.
Screen reader testing with JAWS software
Screen reader tests evaluate code to ensure that it functions at the most basic level for blind and visually impaired users and advise on how to produce optimal functionality. Tests performed by experienced web developer who relies on JAWS for all his computer development work. Recommendations and code samples are provided post-review.
Research and comparative analysis
Market analysis and comparative research on accessibility of similar products. Pinpoint the "best in field" in terms of accessibility to the widest audience possible. Analysis includes comments and recommendations regarding code, potential workarounds needed to bring products in line with accessibility practices and to meet code standards.
Accessibility consulting and training
Initially meet with client teams to discuss accessibility guidelines and explain high-level concepts as well as basic laws that pertain to accessibility in higher education. Follow up meeting(s) to guide developers and designers with questions regarding accessibility of specific project(s). Custom training available on an as needed basis.
Our Accessibility Lab located in Building E19 is used for a variety of evaluations, primarily for Accessibility testing. We also work with ATIC, the Assistive Technology Information Center, in Building 7-143 to, where appropriate, conduct more extensive testing with assistive technologies.
Projects must be MIT based; we do not work with outside clients.
To determine the appropriate accessibility method for your needs, we advise scheduling a quick meeting to discuss your goals at the beginning of our collaboration. Contact us to request additional information or services.