Glossary of Accessibility Terms

Last updated: 05/14/2021 4:10 PM

  • Accessibility — The ability for a product or service to be reachable, usable, and easy to use by everyone, including people with disabilities. 
  • Alt Text / Alternative Text — A phrase that describes an informational image for users who are unable to see the image, such as blind or low vision users, and users with limited broadband connection or accessing content from a browser that blocks images. Assistive technology (AT) such as screen reader software will read the alternative text to the user. 
  • Assistive Technology (AT) — A product, tool, or piece of software that is used by people with disabilities to maintain and/or enhance their day-to-day activities. Examples of AT are hearing aids, screen readers, refreshable braille displays, tactile keyboards, mouth sticks, head wands, and text to speech software. 
  • Captions — Three contexts: 1. Captions are the text representation of the speech and other sounds on a video, also called CC for Closed Caption. They can make audio content in videos accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. 2. Tables on websites need titles, these are referred to as captions by HTML. 3. Figure captions are text usually below an image that provides further context, explains the image, or cites the source. 
  • HTML / Hypertext Markup Language — The standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. It can be assisted by technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and scripting languages such as JavaScript.  Web browsers receive HTML documents from a web server or from local storage and render the documents into multimedia web pages. HTML describes the structure of a web page semantically and originally included cues for the appearance of the document.†
  • Keyboard Navigation — The ability of a person to navigate a web site with a keyboard, and without the use of a mouse, trackpad, pointer, or other directional device that utilizes a cursor. This is an important feature of a document or web site because some people have visual and mobility disabilities which prevent their usage of such directional devices.
  • Meaningful Hyperlinks — In computing, a hyperlink, or simply a link, is a reference to data that the user can follow by clicking or tapping. A hyperlink points to a whole document or to a specific element within a document. The text that is linked from is called anchor text.† The anchor text is "meaningful" when it contains a brief phrase of description of the target document or element.
  • Quality Matters — Quality Matters is a global organization providing quality assurance in online instruction. QM provides a rubric of course design standards and create a replicable peer-review process that would train and empower faculty to evaluate courses against these standards, provide guidance for improving the quality of courses, and certify the quality of online and blended college courses across institutions.*
  • Screen Reader — This is a piece of assistive technology (AT) software used by blind or low vision people to access, read, and interact with digital content. 
  • Simulated Lists — Lists in a document, such as "unordered" bulleted lists or "ordered" numbered lists, assist navigation for users of screen readers. In order for a screen reader to make sure of a list, it must be properly formatted using HTML or the list functionalities in Microsoft Office or Canvas. For more information see our page on lists.
  • Subtitles — Subtitles are textual translations of the speech in a video to different languages, sometimes used interchangeably to mean caption, though they differ, especially in description of sounds, such as bangs, clapping, and laughter. 
  • Tags / Tagging — HTML elements are delineated by tags, written using angle brackets. Tags such as <img /> and <input /> directly introduce content into a web page. Other tags such as <p> surround and provide information about document text and may include other tags as sub-elements. Web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox, do not display the HTML tags, but use them to interpret the content of the page.†
  • Transcript — Transcripts are written records of spoken language.† In the context of higher education, they are textual documents (e.g., LMS web pages or document files) which contain verbatim text which matches the audio delivered in an audio or video lecture.
  • W3C / World Wide Web Consortium — The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web. Founded in 1994, the consortium is made up of member organizations that maintain full-time staff working together in the development of standards for the World Wide Web. W3C also engages in education and outreach, develops software and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web.†
  • WCAG / Web Content Accessibility Guidelines — The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are part of a series of web accessibility guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the Internet. They are a set of recommendations for making Web content more accessible, primarily for people with disabilities—but also for all user agents, including highly limited devices, such as mobile phones. WCAG 2.0, were published in December 2008 and became an ISO standard, ISO/IEC 40500:2012 in October 2012. WCAG 2.1 became a W3C Recommendation in June 2018.†


† - Sourced from Wikipedia, which is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
* - Sourced from the Quality Matters About page.