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Wednesday – Ensuring Web Based Tools are Accessible to All

Web Accessibility

On this third day of our Disability Awareness Week, we felt it was important to express a caveat.  While technology has offered unprecedented opportunities to widen access to learning on higher education campuses, it would be wrong to assume that technology, particularly educational technology, is inherently accessible.  Making technology, especially web portals, fully accessible is essential to guarantee equity and social justice.

A Personal Look at Accessibility

This video about access in Higher Education highlights possible barriers students experience when using technology that is not comprehensively thought, conceived or implemented with accessibility in mind.

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The Need for Web Accessibility

We encourage you to also watch this short video produced by the Government of Australia which highlights the need to guarantee web accessibility in all aspects of public life.

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The Web is not Enough

On the McGill campus, most IT solutions are purchased from US suppliers and are therefore ADA approved.  This does not mean that web accessibility is guaranteed through every day use.  It is important to follow certain simple recommendations to make sure that material uploaded on web portals and IT structures itself is fully accessible.  Here is a short video to create awareness about these simple guidelines.

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Online OCRs

There is software that is especially designed for performing Optical Character Recognitions on PDFs and other image files. However, this software can be expensive and is not always available when you need it. If you find yourself needing to perform an OCR on a document but do not have access to some of the more robust tools available, here are a couple of free and easy to use web based solutions.

  • i2OCR - This is a handy website that requires no sign up. It allows you to upload PDFs and other image files containing text and will perform the OCR on your documents directly on the web. You will then be able to download your a more accessible version of your file. The site imposes not upload limits, so even if you are working with large documents, this can still be a go to resource.
  • Free Online OCR - Here is another great online tool for preforming OCRs online that's free, simple to use and requires no sign ups. Not only will this site allow you to upload your PDFs and image to recognize any readable text, but it will also let you convert your document into different formats. This is a great way to quickly transform PDF files into Word documents.