Information and Communication Technology or “ICT,” includes products that store, process, transmit, convert, duplicate, or receive electronic information. Examples are: software applications and operating systems; web-based information and applications such as distance learning; telephones and other telecommunications products; video equipment and multimedia products that may be distributed on videotapes, CDs, DVDs, email, or the World Wide Web; office products such as photocopiers and fax machines; calculators; and computer hardware. Electronic textbooks, instructional software, email, chat, and distance learning programs are also examples of ICT. How is "ICT" different from "AT"? Assistive technology, as it relates to information and communication technology, includes special tools or software to help people use computers, software, the Internet, telephones, or other technology used in education. Examples are: special keyboards; software to magnify a computer screen or audibly read the text on a computer screen; text telephones (TTYs) to help people who are deaf communicate using the telephone. Information and communication technology may be inaccessible to people if it provides only one way to access the information. For example, those with visual impairments cannot read documents presented only in a visual format; people who are deaf cannot understand content that is only presented orally; people who have limited use of their hands or arms may not use a computer mouse; and people who use wheelchairs may not be able to operate a fax machine if the controls are impossible to reach. Many of these barriers can be reduced or eliminated when the principles of "universal design" are used to design and develop the information technology. The decision to plan ahead for accessibility can reduce the need for special accommodations. Assistive Technology Project's (ATP) Accessibility User Guides Download Idaho ATP's Accessiblity User Guides: PDF Best practices for creating accessible content in Microsoft Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word; Adobe Acrobat and InDesign; as well as Social Media. The User Guide also contains common keyboard shortcuts for moving around in Outlook and Windows. Creating Accessible Documents Accessible Forms Get detailed how-to information from Adobe on using Dreamweaver to create accessible forms. Accessify has a quick form builder that combines two older tools: a form builder and a form element generator. Accessible PDFs Review these best practices from Adobe on making accessible PDF files. Here are step-by-step instructions for creating accessible PDF files from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Texas HHS Accessibility Center offers checklists for PDF documents and forms. PAC provides the freeware program – PDF Accessibility Checker – as a fast way to test the accessibility of PDF files. Accessible Tables Accessify offers a quick table builder that can create accessible tables using a wizard as a guide. Using Plain Language Go to PlainLanguage.gov for the benefits of plain language, examples of government documents in plain language, and a checklist to see if your document meets plain language standards. The National Institutes of Health offers plain language online training. Creating Accessible Webpages Accessify offers useful accessibility tools and wizards, including a quick page accessibility test, form builder, and YouTube caption creator. The aDesigner is a tool that Web authors can use to ensure that the webpages they create are accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The Adobe Flash Platform is an integrated set of technologies that helps you create and deliver applications, content, and video. Adobe Flex 4 includes 35 accessible components that simplify the process of creating accessible rich Internet applications. The Audio Description Coalition has compiled Standards for Audio Description and a Code of Professional Conduct for Describers (requires free registration). HTML5: This robust technical specification for web developers facilitates accessibility. Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) Accessibility Center for Electronic Information Resources offers a one-stop shop for standards, guidelines, policy, and procedures relating to accessibility. U.S. Web Design System The federal government’s 508 Universe offers tools and resources to help implement Section 508 standards. Access iQ’s Web Accessibility Wizard consolidates WCAG 2.0 queries into a single, easy-to-navigate search result. The Illinois Center for Information Technology and Web Accessibility provides a wide range of accessibility-related information including events, training, and best practices. WebAIM features free accessibility tools and accessibility-related articles on topics such as HTML, rich media, and training. The Web Accessibility Toolbar, provided by the Accessible Information Solutions (AIS) team of Vision Australia, streamlines the process of testing web pages for accessibility. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has developed a comprehensive glossary and dictionary of all web-related terms. The Illinois Center for Information Technology and Web Accessibility provides a detailed list of HTML best practices for developing accessible sites. WC3 presents FAQs on making multimedia accessible—it's easier than you might think. W3C has a summary of extended audio descriptions with examples, techniques, and related resources. The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media offers two versions of the Media Access Generator (MAGpie) for creating captions and audio descriptions for rich media. Google has combined automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology with the YouTube caption system to offer automatic captions, or auto-caps for short. The Dreamweaver Learn & Support is a rich source for Dreamweaver CC users with tutorials, resources, and discussion forums. The Web Developer extension for Firefox adds a menu and toolbar with various web developer tools. Microsoft Visual Studio offers accessibility best practices. How to Check Accessibility Accessibility Accessify’s Quick Page Accessibility Tester is a bookmarklet/favelet that gives a quick analysis of any web page. Cynthia Says! has an online accessibility test that validates a single web page at a time. The Illinois Center for IT and Web Accessibility offers a tool to evaluate the functional accessibility of a single web page. The W3C Markup Validation Service checks the markup validity of Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc. The W3C has compiled a complete list of web accessibility evaluation tools. WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool provided by WebAIM that provides feedback by showing the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal the page’s accessibility. Checklists The Section 508 checking tool compares your html code against the Section 508 checklist. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission developed a checklist for Section 508 accessibility Excel The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers these training modules for testing common documents for Section 508 compliance. Colorblindness Color Oracle is a free color blindness simulator for your computer. Vischeck lets you check images or a web page for colorblind visibility. Screen Readers ChromeVox is a free screen reader that comes pre-installed on Chromebooks. Developed for computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content, JAWS reads aloud what is on the computer screen. Check WebAIM for tips on using JAWS to evaluate web accessibility and a list of JAWS keyboard shortcuts, especially for new or occasional JAWS users. Narrator is a built-in screen reader built into Microsoft operating systems. PowerTalk is an add-on screen reader available for use with Microsoft PowerPoint. VoiceOver is a built-in screen reader integrated into all Mac operating systems and products. Windows-Eyes is a software application for the blind and visually impaired that converts components of the Windows operating system into synthesized speech allowing for complete and total access to Windows based computer systems. Standards and Guidelines Section 508 requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Visit this site for detailed and summarized information on the Section 508 Standards. All Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education are required to comply with Accessibility Standards for State Agencies and Accessibility Standards for Institutions of Higher Education. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) develops guidelines widely regarded as the international standard for web accessibility including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Information and Communication Technology in Education AccessIT: National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education University of Washington DO-IT Program: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology Standards for Information and Communication Technology ADA Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act: Report to the President and Congress: Accessibility of Federal Electronic and Information Technology (September 2012) Brainline: What is Accessible Electronic and Information Technology? United States Access Board: Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Services to Create Documents and Websites The following websites offer pay-for-services that include the development, remediation and monitoring of PDFs, documents and websites. Appligent - PDFs only Common Look - PDFs and documents Level Access - PDFs, Word documents and websites Mighty Bytes - Website development with accessibility and usability.