Best Practices

11 Accessibility Statements

Josie Gray

Once you have created an accessible textbook, you should provide an accessibility statement. While an accessibility statement is not required, it can be an important and useful addition to a resource for which you have worked to make accessible. This section will outline guidelines and recommendations about what to include in an accessibility statement and who the accessibility statement is for.

What is an accessibility statement?

An accessibility statement acts as resource for those who have questions about the accessibility features of your resource. It should provide an overview of accessibility features and contact information in case there are any problems.

Who are you doing this for?

When writing an accessibility statement, it is important to keep in mind who the statement is for. This will guide the language you use and the type of information you include. Ultimately, the accessibility statement is for people who have disabilities.

Hassell Inclusion’s blog post on “How to write an effective Accessibility Statement” notes that many accessibility statements ignore who will be accessing the accessibility statement or why. Instead, they make statements about the organization’s commitment to accessibility, combined with technical jargon related to web development, accessibility, and accessibility legislation. Rather than acting as a helpful resource for people with disabilities, this type of accessibility statement “read[s] like a combination of a sales pitch on how socially responsible the organization is, a technology manual, and some legal small print.”[1]

Chances are, the only time people will be interested in an accessibility statement is when they have trouble accessing content in the textbook or resource. Therefore, make sure your accessibility statement provides the information readers are looking for.

What do you need to do?

Here are tips for writing a useful accessibility statement:

  • Use clear and simple language, avoiding jargon and technical terms
  • Include information about how people can personalize their experience. This might include information about:
    • features of the platform used for the resource (e.g., if a book is in Pressbooks, mention the ability of users to increase the font size in the web book)
    • the ability to change browser settings
    • a link to each available file format
    • assistive technologies
  • Outline specific accessibility features and how to use them when relevant
  • Do not make false claims or ignore known accessibility issues. Be as transparent and open about accessibility barriers as possible. This means:
    • describing what is being done to fix the problem and a timeline
    • providing any temporary workarounds
  • Include information about who is responsible for the accessibility of the content and their contact information so people can submit issues, suggestions, or complaints related to accessibility.
  • Describe the organization’s accessibility policy, and the work that has been done to make the resource accessible. Here, you can provide information like:
    • accessibility guidelines you are following (e.g., WCAG 2.0)
    • any federal, provincial, or state legislation you are conforming to
    • any user testing you performed[2]

Here is a sample accessibility statement that you can adapt for your own purposes:

Sample Accessibility Statement

BCcampus Open Education believes that education needs to be available to everyone, which means supporting the creation of free, open, and accessible educational resources. We are actively committed to increasing the accessibility and usability of the textbooks we produce.

Accessibility features of the web version for this resource

The web version of the Accessibility Toolkit – 2nd Edition has been designed with accessibility in mind by incorporating the following features:

  • It has been optimized for people who use screen-reader technology.
    • all content can be navigated using a keyboard
    • links, headings, tables, and images have been designed to work with screen readers
  • It has the option to increase font size (see tab on top right of screen).

Other file formats available

In addition to the web version, this book is available in a number of file formats, including PDF, EPUB (for eReaders), MOBI (for Kindles), and various editable files. You can also purchase a print copy. Here is a link to where you can download this book in another file format. Look for the “Download this book” drop-down menu to select the file type you want.

Known accessibility issues and areas for improvement

While we strive to ensure that this textbook is as accessible and as usable as possible, we might not always get it right. Any issues we identify will be listed below.

List of Known Accessibility Issues
Location of issue Need for improvement Timeline Work around

Accessibility standards

The web version of this resource has been designed to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, level AA. In addition, it follows all guidelines in “Appendix A: Checklist for Accessibility.” The development of the toolkit involved working with students with various print disabilities who provided their personal perspectives and helped test the content.

Let us know if you are having problems accessing this textbook

We are always looking for how we can make our resources more accessible. If you are having problems accessing this resource, please contact us to let us know so we can fix the issue.

Please include the following information:

  • The location of the problem by providing a web address or page description
  • A description of the problem
  • The computer, software, browser, and any assistive technology you are using that can help us diagnose and solve your issue
    • e.g., Windows 10, Google Chrome (Version 65.0.3325.181), NVDA screenreader

You can contact us one of the following ways:

This statement was last updated on August 21, 2018. 

Additional resources

For more information, refer to the following resources:

For sample accessibility statements, refer to the following pages:


  1. "Accessibility Statement," Hassellinclusion, accessed August 23, 2018, http://www.hassellinclusion.com/accessibility/.
  2. "Creating an Accessibility Statement," Access 8878, accessed August 30, 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20161203101842/https://www.access8878.co.uk/getting-started-with-bs-8878/creating-an-accessibility-statement.aspx.

License

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Accessibility Statements by Josie Gray is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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