Web accessibility refers to how easily people with disabilities can navigate and interact with websites. Disabilities may be physical (such as blindness, low vision, deafness, or fine motor skills difficulty), or cognitive (such as dyslexia or attention deficit disorder). People with disabilities often use assistive technologies to help them navigate the web. An assistive technology is any device that helps a person with a disability. Common web assistive technologies include modified mice and keyboards, screen readers and screen magnifiers.

Web accessibility occurs when websites support web accessibility standards, are compatible with assistive technologies, and are easy for people to navigate and understand.

The platform for TCU Online follows web accessibility standards closely. Many features in TCU Online can be adjusted to improve access for individuals with disabilities. We recommend that individuals who use screen readers, screen magnifiers, or navigate primarily by keyboard, read the accessibility topics to help ensure that the features and settings they use best support their needs.

Accessibility topics for users

In the topics below, you will find information on specific features and settings that are built in or can be adjusted to improve access for individuals with disabilities.

Using personal settings with assistive technology

The minibar includes a personal menu with links to tools that store your personal information and settings. To open the personal menu, select the link containing your name. There are three links on the personal menu:

  • Profile – Edit your shared personal information
  • Notifications – Set how you receive notifications about activity in your courses
  • Account Settings – Change display settings for Brightspace TCU Online

We recommend that you adjust the settings available in the Account Settings tool to meet your personal needs.  Recommendations and information about more advanced settings can be found on the  Access & Change Account Settings page.

The settings below can be changed from the Account Settings link in the minibar.

Font Settings

Font Size can be adjusted to improve readability. Font typeface cannot be changed. However, since TCU Online works through a web browser, users who may benefit from the OpenDyslexic Font can use available browser extensions such as OpenDyslexic Font for Chrome which will override all fonts on web pages with the OpenDyslexic font.

Dialog Setting

You should change modal dialogs to pop-ups if a) you primarily view the website on a small device, b) you primarily view the website with style sheets disabled, or c) you use an assistive technology (such as a screen reader, screen magnifier or voice software) that benefit from simpler page designs. You have the option to show secondary windows as Dialogs or as Pop-ups.

HTML Editor Settings

The HTML editor enables you to enter text and HTML in the system. It has many additional rich text features. If you use assistive technology such as screen readers, some of these features might be difficult to navigate. Consider choosing Turn off rich text editor and view source.

Reading Content

Some tools automatically mark content as read as you scroll it into view. If you use an assistive technology such as a screen reader then you may wish to disable this feature by checking the Do not automatically mark items as read as the page scrolls box.

Video Settings

This setting ensures assistive technologies can detect videos. As a consequence, videos will overlap menus. It does not influence the accessibility of specific players. Consider choosing to Optimize video presentation for programmatically-driven assistive technologies.

Built in Screen and Document Reader

ReadSpeaker products are text-to-speech products that go beyond providing the oral presentation of the material. They also provide highlighting of the words/sentences, page masking, a reading ruler, aid in proofing papers, ability to enlarge text, change fonts to Open Dyslexic font, change background/text colors, and more. ReadSpeaker audio can be listened to on or offline.

ReadSpeaker products are integrated within TCU Online’s platform to provide users of the TCU Online with the ability to listen to text / document content. The TTS service helps all students expand their comprehension and allows for bimodal learning. By providing different ways of accessing the learning content, ReadSpeaker / DocReader nicely fits the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) philosophy. The seamlessly integrated TTS feature requires no downloads and works on all supported devices and operating systems, further enabling users who would otherwise have to download and install third-party software.

Learn how to:

Third-Party Screen Readers

Many users prefer to use third-party screen reader software, as it is what they are familiar with. Users of third-party screen reader software will want to make sure they understand the TCU Online platform features that improve the usability of the system for those users who prefer a third-party screen reader.

Screen reader accessibility features

The TCU Online platform includes a number of features aimed at improving the usability of the system for assistive technology users. The following list outlines some of the design decisions that benefit screen reader users:

  • Standard page designs. Similar functionality is located in the same place and accessed in the same way across tools.
  • Simple heading structure. Heading 1s are used for page titles. Heading 2s are used for widgets and major page sections. Heading 3s are used to organize information within widgets and for subsections.
  • Unique, contextual link and button names.
  • Title attributes on links that “open in a new window”. We recommend that you adjust your assistive technology’s settings to read the title attribute when different from link text if you want to be warned when a link opens in a new window.
  • Descriptive alternative text on all system images and graphics. TCU Online also prompts course designers to include alternative text when uploading images.
  • Table row and column markup and table summaries.
  • Toggle icons (such as show/hide) indicate the state of the control.
  • Skip navigation links and ARIA landmarks so you can skip sections of a page.
  • Account Settings for simplifying the layout of many tools. Additional settings specifically related to accessibility, including the ability to change system font size, change modal dialogs to windows, and turn off the HTML Editor (WYSIWYG).
  • Full keyboard accessibility. The tab order is logical and tab focus visually indicated. Drag-and-drop and other dynamic features have keyboard alternatives.
  • WAI-ARIA markup is used for tabs, context menus, and error and confirmation messages to help improve navigation.
  • Support for browser and assistive technology scaling and contrast options. System content uses styles that can be overwritten by cascading style sheets (CSS), although the complexity of the system requires detailed style sheets.

Screen reader tips

This topic discusses how the TCU Online system is laid out, and how different functionality, settings, and preferences benefit individuals that navigate the system using a screen reader (or other assistive technologies that interpret the contents of a page).

This topic does not document how to use specific assistive technologies. Please refer to help material for the software or device you are using if you want to learn about its specific functionality, shortcuts, and commands.

Keyboard-only navigation accessibility features

The platform that houses TCU Online includes a number of features aimed at improving the usability of our systems for people with disabilities. The following list outlines some of the design decisions that benefit people that navigate our products by keyboard or using an assistive technology that emulates a keyboard:

  • Standard page designs. Similar functionality is located in the same place and accessed in the same way across tools.
  • Full keyboard accessibility. The tab order is logical and tab focus is visually indicated.
  • Keyboard alternatives for drag-and-drop functionality and other dynamic features.
  • Simplified pages that divide content across tabs and hide secondary content in expandable/collapsible sections.
  • Unique link, button and field names for easy searching.
  • Keyboard accessible HTML Editor (WYSIWYG).
  • WAI-ARIA markup is used for tabs, context menus, error and confirmation messages, and page landmarks to help improve navigation.

Keyboard-only navigation tips

This topic provides some basic advice for people who navigate TCU Online using a keyboard or assistive technologies that emulate a keyboard.

Screen magnifiers, zooming, and color contrast accessibility features

The following list outlines some of the design decisions that benefit people that use screen magnifiers, zooming functionality and color contrast functionality:

  • Standard page designs. Similar functionality is located in the same place and accessed in the same way across tools.
  • Support for browser and assistive technology scaling (zooming) and contrast options. System content uses styles that can be overwritten by cascading style sheets (CSS), although the complexity of the system requires detailed style sheets.
  • Full keyboard accessibility. The tab order is logical, and tab focus is visually indicated.
  • Accessibility standards compliant code. If your screen magnifier supports basic screen reader features, such as reading the cursor location or navigating by links, you can use these features effectively.
  • User Preferences for simplifying the layout of many tools. Additional accessibility related preferences, including the ability to change system font size and the ability to turn off the HTML Editor (WYSIWYG).
  • System information is not communicated by color alone.
  • All pages meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA requirements for color contrast (with the exception of user-generated content).

Screen magnifiers, zooming, and color contrast tips

This topic provides some basic advice for using the system with screen magnifiers, zooming functionality and color contrast functionality.

Screen magnifiers, zooming functionality and color contrast functionality are often used by people who have difficulties reading online. Difficulties can include low vision, color blindness, eye strain, or dyslexia. Screen magnifiers and zooming functionality are also used by individuals who have fine motor skills difficulty as they increase the target for selectable content (such as links, icons and form fields).

Get Additional Support

There is a wealth of assistive technology products available to help people use computers and the internet. A few examples include: special keyboards and mice, speech recognition software, screen magnifiers, screen readers, and Braille displays. Investing the time to find the hardware and software that is right for you, and then learning how to use it effectively, is worthwhile. Take advantage of help documentation and tutorials to learn commands, shortcuts, frequent tasks, and special tips.

If you are having difficulty using TCU Online to complete your course work, consider seeking help from Coordinator of Student Disabilities Services in the Center for Academic Services located in Sadler Hall, room 1010, or seek help from your assistive technology’s help documentation.