Project Description


There are many barriers to participation that can exist for individuals navigating digital technology, and not everyone encounters barriers in the same way. Online technology has the potential to be inclusive and accessible, however, this accessibility is not a feature of the technology itself, rather, it requires content designers and creators to intentionally consider accessibility.

Barriers can arise both in the structure of a digital technology, for example by designing an interface that is entirely graphical rather than incorporating text (making it difficult for those with visual impairments to use the interface), or in the content, by using exclusionary language.

Some considerations that should inform inclusive and accessible design include:

  • Create adaptable content: ensure that text can be resized; that font and colour can be changed.
  • Don’t only convey information through colour or an image. Ensure there are text descriptions of images to enable people with sight impairments to access the information.
  • Avoiding using animations, and if it is necessary to use them, provide a warning.
  • Videos should be subtitled or accompanied by a transcript for those with hearing impairments and feature descriptions for those with visual impairments.
  • Ensure that your online materials can be accessed without using a mouse.
  • Use inclusive and respectful language and avoid using gendered or ableist terms (for more on this see the glossaries in Option B in the activities below).



Choose either option A or option B:

Option A – Adaptive technology

  • Install one of the free Chrome accessibility extensions, and use it throughout the day when going through your normal online tasks, such as checking your email, reading a news site, conducting a search in the library catalogue, etc.


  • Look at the list of keyboard shortcuts supported in Chrome. Experiment with navigating through some of your daily online tasks using only the keyboard shortcuts. Possible tasks could be checking your email on webmail, reading a news site or conducting a search in the library catalogue.

Option B – Accessible language

Select and review one of the three glossaries or word lists below:

More information:

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative’s collection of selected scenarios of people with disabilities using digital technologies.

Sabrina Fonesca (a User Experience Designer): Designing forms for gender diversity and inclusion,, April 2017.

Technology and the Power of Promise (streaming video) –  A video explaining how technology can be empowering for someone with  an impairment, but also how poor design can be incredibly difficult to overcome.

Spoon Theory and Cell Phone Theory are metaphors developed to help illustrate the impact of navigating life with an invisible disability.