FAQs on EIT
What is IT accessibility?
Johns Hopkins University is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as individuals without disabilities. That includes information, interactions, and services that are provided using electronic and information technology (EIT), such as websites, online systems, and electronic teaching equipment. Examples are captioning on videos, alternative text with website images, and transcripts for podcasts.
The university will act in accordance with applicable laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008.
Doesn’t Johns Hopkins already follow disability laws?
The university complies with the Americans With Disability Act and other applicable laws.
How soon will we have to update our websites and other materials?
The university encourages all departments to start taking action now. Some adaptations are relatively simple and highly effective including:
- Using image alt tags to succinctly describe images on websites
- Offering transcriptions of audio material, such as webcasts
- Adding tags and descriptive text to pdfs, Word documents, and PowerPoint presentations so they are compatible with screen readers
- Providing keyboard navigation for websites
In the coming months, this website, http://accessibility.jhu.edu, will have more information about implementing these steps and other best practices.
Won’t it be expensive to make all these changes?
Some changes are relatively simple, such as adding image alt tags or transcribing materials, and need to become part of our regular procedures. Accessibility features should be part of the planning and budgeting for any EIT projects. Efforts to bring existing materials up-to-date can be phased in if departments create a plan and timeline for doing so.
How does this apply to courses?
Our existing process to provide accommodations has been applicable to courses and is not changing. Some students need specific types of accommodations to access course materials and engage in course activities. To learn more about accommodations, please visit http://accessibility.jhu.edu/accommodations.
In general, accessibility accommodations depend on the type of content.
- If you use videos, they need to be captioned.
- If you use images, they need alt text for someone on a screen reader.
- If you use Blackboard, you can use the tools in the HTML editor to create accessible content.
- If you use PowerPoint, photos and images can be optimized with a few simple techniques.
In most courses, whether face to face or online, as a student you’ll work with many pieces of content. As a faculty or staff member, you need to keep in mind technical standards for accessibility when you create content items.
How can I find out if my website is accessible or not?
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 define how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. WCAG 2.0 is designed to apply broadly to different web technologies now and in the future, and to be testable with a combination of automated testing and human evaluation. Several online testing tools that will help you evaluate your site are referenced on our accessibility starter guide for website builders. We recommend combining these online testing tools with a human review and evaluation of your site following one of the checklists available at:
Where can I get help making my materials accessible?
In the coming months, this website, http://accessibility.jhu.edu, will be updated with guides and tutorials to help you engage in best practices. Training sessions will be offered to provide information about making EIT accessible.
How will we make sure vendors are meeting accessibility requirements?
The university’s procurement office will assist in identifying vendors who can meet these needs and in creating appropriate agreements.
Procurement will provide a list of approved vendors that departments are strongly encouraged to work with to provide interpreting services, transcribing services, and captioning services in order to make information accessible. This list will be available on the accessibility web page and the procurement website.
Can I still work with my disability coordinator, or do I have to handle all accommodation requests myself?
The university’s goal is to have as much content as possible presented in a way that reduces the need for accommodation requests. However, all individuals with disabilities will still be strongly encouraged to work with the designated coordinator to assist with documents and web pages that are not already accessible.