Accessibility in Higher Education (1st A11y Wizard Hour)

AccessibilityOz CEO Gian Wild answers accessibility questions raised by higher education professionals.

Video transcript

Recorded on December 19, 2019.


Learn more about accessibility in higher education

Here are some of the resources discussed during this A11y Wizard Hour. If you have any to add, we’d love to hear from you!

Last year, Gian keynoted the Higher Education Summit at DrupalCon Seattle. You can access that presentation, “Web Accessibility in Higher Education,” on Prezentt, or download the presentation from Dropbox (PDF, 11.62 MB). We recommend you follow accessibility activist Sheri Byrne-Haber on Medium, and check out her currently published stories, which range in topics from accessibility laws to examining accessible hotel rooms.

More about VPATs and product accessibility

Want to know more about interpreting a VPAT? Check out our webinar and our article on the subject. Of additional interested may be our webinar “How to Determine if a Product is Accessible,” which discusses quick testing that can be done during the procurement process. Check out our Accessibility Factsheets and articles for some quick and condensed education regarding the finer aspects of accessibility. 

More about video accessibility

Gian’s webinar, “Video Player (in)Accessibility,” is available via 3Play Media. We encourage  you to check out the web’s two most accessible video players: the opensource AblePlayer and our own OzPlayer. 

More about mobile accessibility

For mobile accessibility, our webinar “How to Test the Accessibility of Your Mobile Websites and Apps” is a good place to start, and you can download the current Mobile Testing Methodology put together by the ICT Accessibility Testing Symposium’s mobile committees, though an updated version is currently in the works.

Some specifics

Dyslexia fonts

Research has indicated that fonts created purely for people with dyslexia may not actually help as much as indicated. This is because dyslexia is an issue with phonological coding, and not due to the visual appearance of words. Dyslexia fonts have, anecdotally, been said to improve reading and comprehension, but this has not been borne out by experimental studies. For more information see:

BeeLine Reader

BeeLine Reader uses color to attract focus to certain words to make comprehension and reading faster. There is a Chrome extension, an iOS app and an Android app. No formal experimental studies have been conducted. Find more information on the BeeLine Reader website.


EquatIO by TextHelp definitely looks good. It allows for writing math formulas which convert into text. It works with Read and Write Gold. Find more information at TextHelp.


MathJax is a JavaScript display engine for maths. Demos are available on the MathJax website. You can also play around with this demo at the MathJax Play Area.

OpenStax (the OER-based textbook platform) is still using the older version of MathJax (a more accessible version) for nearly all of their online content.

If using VoiceOver and Safari, then the user would have to right-click on the math equation and choose Math Settings > Math Renderer > MathML in order for this to work with VoiceOver. This is a setting that gets saved in the browser, so the user only has to do this once. Otherwise, it should work with both JAWS and NVDA.

ePUB accessibility testing tools

Ace by DAISY is an automated accessibility checker.

For ePub production, there is the MS Word to ePub converter. It is still technically in beta, but works very well and supports MS Word documents that contain MathType objects (for MathML conversions).

Acrobat and Math equations

Using MathType with Adobe Acrobat to create PDF files.

Live captioning companies

Check out AI Media, The Captioning Studio and VITAC.

Some paid resources

TeachAccess provides excellent resources and information regarding advancing academia with accessibility in mind. Another great resource is the Higher Education Webinar Series from the IAAP.


(Thanks to Sean Keegan for additional advice!)