Accessibility Terms & Concepts

Resources that explain accessibility terms and concepts. List of terms also listed alphabatically down the page.


Resources on the Web

List of Terms

Also available in Printable Bookmark


When a person with a disability is able to use, interact, enjoy the same services effectively as a person without a disability.


A physical or academic adjustment made to “level the playing field” for an individual with a disability based on a proven need.


Alternative text. Descriptive text given to an image (format image to add the alt-text). A screen reader will read this text to someone who cannot see the image/graphic.

Assistive / Adaptive Technology

Software or devices that assist a person with a disability to access a computer. These may include speech to text software, alternate keyboard, etc.


Acronym for Disability Services Office or Disability Support Services.


Popular speech recognition tool; it is often used to dictate for students unable to type.


Headings identify the hierarchical structure of a document. They allow a person using a screen reader or with limited mobility to navigate a document/page. Titles or short text used to define sections of a document should be formatted as headings. (Most people use bold or a larger font size to identify section titles. Don't do this. Use headings!)


Screen reader/voice output that reads web content or digital documents to the user.

Section 508

A section of the US Rehabilitation Act requiring that all federal agencies make electronic and information technology accessible.

Screen reader

Software that reads web content or digital documents to the user. Users are able to navigate through a page/file with the help of headers and alt text for images.

Universal Design

An approach to design that emphasizes designing for the widest range of the population to avoid the need for retrofitting (design a building with an elevator and ramps, don't add those once someone in a wheelchair shows up).


Universal Design for Learning. Applying Universal Design principles to instruction. Emphasis is placed on multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression.


Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. This is something filled out by a vendor that walks through if and how they comply with Section 508. Note - this is voluntary and not always to be taken at its word.

Zoom Text

A screen magnification software.

Contact Accessibility Coordinators

  Brandon Ray/Director of IT Services/Technology Accessibility Coordinator

Fax: 360.442.2259

  Mary Kate Morgan/Director of Disability Support Services & Special Populations


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