Universal Design

Create content that can be accessed and used by anyone on any device

IRT strives to create content that is both aesthetically pleasing and accessible. For example, through the use of responsive web design, IRT ensures that all new websites are properly displayed whether you are using a PC, tablet or mobile phone. IRT supports faculty and staff in making instructional materials accessible to students with disabilities. If you are creating instructional materials such as videos, websites or documents and would like assistance, please contact an Instructional Design Specialist at your campus.

United States Laws: American with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, is civil rights legislation governed by the Department of Justice. The goal of this law is to make sure that people with disabilities can have an equal opportunity to participate in programs, services, and activities. There are two major sections in the ADA that may apply to web accessibility. These are:

  • Title II, which states that communications with persons with disabilities must be "as effective as communications with others" [28 C.F.R. ss 35.160 (a)]
  • Title III, which deals with public accommodation of people with disabilities.

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United States Laws: Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Sections 504 & 508)

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the first major legislative effort to secure an equal playing field for individuals with disabilities. This legislation provides a wide range of services for persons with physical and cognitive disabilities. Two sections within the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, have impact on accessible web design. These are Sections 504 and 508.

Section 504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a civil rights law. It was the first civil rights legislation in the United States designed to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination based on their disability status.

The nondiscrimination requirements of the law apply to employers and organizations that receive federal financial assistance. All government agencies, federally-funded projects, K-12 schools, postsecondary entities (state colleges, universities, and vocational training schools) fall into this category.

Section 508

The Reauthorized Rehabilitation Act of 1998 included amendments to Section 508 of the Act. This section bars the Federal government from procuring electronic and information technology (E&IT) goods and services that are not fully accessible to those with disabilities. This would include the services of web design since the Internet was specifically mentioned.

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Need support?

IRT supports faculty and staff in making instructional materials accessible to students with disabilities. If you are creating instructional materials such as videos, websites or documents and would like assistance, please contact Instructional Design Specialist at your campus.