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How to Avoid an OCR Complaint

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Written by: Kristin Heineman

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the Department of Education (DOE) is responsible for collecting and investigating discrimination complaints at educational institutions. OCR will investigate complaints from every level of education, including colleges and universities.

In 2016 alone, OCR received nearly 6,000 complaints on the basis of disability, 600 of which were in the area of digital accessibility alone. This number represents a 55 percent increase in the number of digital accessibility complaints from 2015 and, a 511 percent increase since 2011, when OCR started tracking this kind of complaint.

So what sorts of questions should you be asking yourself to make sure that your website doesn’t violate accessibility laws? Here are some questions you should be asking yourself about your website. (Hint: the answer to all these questions should be yes.)

  • Do you have alternative text for images?
  • Do you have captions for pre-recorded videos with a sound component?
  • Can audio be paused and can its volume be adjusted?
  • Can all website components be navigated using a keyboard?
  • Can moving and blinking content be paused, stopped, or hidden?
  • Do all web pages have a title that describe its purpose?
  • Are fields in online forms labeled properly?

In addition to the questions above, educational institutions must make sure that their content is able to be read by assistive technology, such as a screen reader. Although answering yes to all the questions above will mean that your content is friendlier to assistive technology, there is no replacement for actually having your content tested for accessibility.

Want to learn more?

Don’t Fear the OCR: Digital Accessibility for Education

Our Education Account Managers walk you through things that your school should know:

  •  Common complaints that persons with disabilities may have about your website
  •  Digital accessibility laws that pertain to educational institutions
  •  What you should do when you get a complaint letter

Access the webinar resources now!

 

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