How many people are affected by disabilities?

Up to 1 in 4 (27 percent) adults in the United States have some type of disability (CDC, 2023), many of which can affect a user’s ability to navigate the web, including:

  • 12.8 percent of U.S. adults have a cognitive disability 
  • 6.1 percent of U.S. adults are deaf or have difficulty hearing
  • 4.8 percent of U.S. adults have a vision disability with blindness or difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses

Additionally, disabilities are not the only thing that affects a user’s ability to experience and interact with the web. 22 percent of the United States population speaks a language other than English in their home (Migration Policy Institute, 2018), making the readability of a website critical so all audiences can understand the content. Education level also plays a factor in readability, so it’s crucial to use plain language so your website is understood by all visitors.

How do I evaluate my entire website for accessibility errors?

It can be hard to maintain your website for accessibility. Enter DubBot — a web governance tool that scans websites and notifys maintainers of any issues and flags accessibility errors. DubBot is set up to crawl your website and send a report of its findings via email. If you’d like to receive a DubBot report for your website, submit a ticket.

This is a lot of information, where do I start?

It can be overwhelming to sort through your website to flag any accessibility errors. There are five key things Carleton’s web content editors should do that serve as the best starting point so users can get the most out of your website. These steps alone can make a world of difference in making your website accessible.

My website includes videos, images, documents, and other file types. What should I do?

Having your text accessible is only the beginning. All media used on your website needs to be accessible as well. This includes captions on videos, alt text on images, graphs, and PDFs, etc. Learn more about multimedia accessibility.

Do I have to caption all my videos?

All videos on Carleton websites must include captions. Captions make videos more accessible to those with hearing limitations and those for whom English is not their first language.

Not captioning videos could potentially create a lawsuit for the college; all colleges and universities are expected to comply with ADA regulations unless they can prove undue hardship. For more information on ADA compliance and legal requirements, contact Carleton’s Office of Accessibility Resources.

Captioning videos allows people to watch on their mobile devices, in public, or when their device is muted. It also increases watch time, which is a factor in many platforms’ algorithms and may help boost your content and expand the reach of your video. There are multiple ways to obtain captions for your videos (both free and paid), select the option that works best for you.

Do web writing tools (ChatGBT, Google Translate, etc.) meet accessibility standards?

AI tools

Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools were created to mimic human intelligence and are designed to perform tasks, solve problems, etc. However, these tools also pose a lack of consumer privacy, algorithm bias, unclear legal regulations, lack of creativity, and security threats — among many other risks associated with using AI.

Please be sure to use AI tools in a responsible and ethical manner. Learn more about using AI tools by checking out articles written in the ITS Newsletter and The East Laird Times.

Google Translate

A 2021 study conducted by the UCLA Medical Center found that Google Translate preserved the overall meaning for 82.5% of the translations. However, the accuracy between languages spanned 55% to 94%. 

Google Translate can be helpful in low-visibility content situations, however, it’s not appropriate for translating everyday expressions, high-visibility content, or used as a dictionary to translate individual words (the meaning is often misconstrued). In these cases, since the quality of translation can drastically alter the message’s tone and delivery, having a professional translation would be best.

I haven’t received any complaints about accessibility on my website, does this apply to me?

Yes, web accessibility applies to every website, regardless of the users.