Information provided by:
  • Jeremy Merritt - Assistant Director, University Technology - Web Services
  • Seal Hall 320
  • (309) 298-1287

WIU complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the best practices and standards as defined by the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA).

Web Accessibility & the Law

If you are providing content available to the public on behalf of WIU, then legally the content must be accessible. WesternOnline requires a username and password to access, therefore the content is not available to the public and doesn’t need to be accessible unless a student requires accommodations. However, it is recommended that you make all content accessible.

A Personal Look at Web Accessibility in Higher Education

Conditions to Consider

  • Visual
  • Blindness, low vision and color-blindness
  • Auditory
  • Deafness (to varying degrees)
  • Motor
  • Loss/limited use of limbs, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, etc
  • Cognitive
  • Difficulties with memory, visual comprehension, attention, etc
  • Seizure
  • Susceptible to seizures caused by strobing, flickering or flashing effects


  • Use headings
  • Use alternative text for all graphics
  • Ensure links make sense out of context (avoid the dreaded “Click here” links)
  • Use tables appropriately and not for layout
  • Provide text alternatives for multimedia
  • Do not use blinking or flashing multimedia
  • Use color appropriately
  • If not using HTML (e.g. Word, PDF) ensure that those documents are natively accessible
  • Provide captions for tables and graphs

Best Practices in Western Online and Beyond

The previous tips can be applied to most all electronic content incuding Google Docs, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, web pages, etc. Keep them in mind when creating:

  • Content in WesternOnline
  • Syllibi, notes, or handouts for class
  • Reports, policies & memos
  • Email messages
  • Posters, bulletins, or newsletters

You’d be surprised how often something created for “only for print” or “only for a live presentation” ends up online or is later needed in an accessible format.