Accessibility generally refers to making information accessible to people who are sight or hearing impaired, although the term is taking on broader meaning in making information accessible to people with a broader range of access challenges.
To fully understand the impact and the importance of accessibility, it helps to reflect on the reality that the current economy is the information or idea economy and that the U.S. has moved beyond the agricultural through the industrial and to a technological phase of extraordinary opportunity for people with sight, hearing or learning disabilities.
U.S. law has promised people equal access to information through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), The Rehabilitation Act, Section 508 and The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It’s the responsibility of all website managers and content providers to deliver on this promise.
Some of the ways, the Department of Defense website managers and content providers ensure equal access to information is by ensuring that all videos have closed captioning, which is done by loading the video into DVIDS, waiting a day for DVIDS to automatically close caption and then verify accuracy. Then the video will be closed captioned and it can be loaded to other platforms, such as social media sites. Of course, closed captioning can be done manually as well. Here’s an Adobe guide for open or closed captioning videos: https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/how-to/subtitles.html
Additionally, all documents uploaded to any DOD website should be created with accessibility in mind. A great tool to accomplish this is the Adobe Acrobat Pro Accessibility checker. https://www.adobe.com/accessibility/products/acrobat/using-acrobat-pro-accessibility-checker.html
Alternative text that a computer can convert to audio must be added to the metadata of all images and graphics. There are numerous other issues that are important such as color-contrast ratio, so for more information, please read some of the links below.
For more information on creating accessible online content, take a look at: https://section508.gov/training
On the AFPIMS training site (CAC enabled), there are several reference guides, including:
508 Compliance: The Rich Text Editor Guide
508 Compliance: Available Tools
508 Compliance: The Shared Media Manager
Per DODI 8170.01 (https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/817001p.pdf), 3.2. ACCESSIBILITY. Official electronic messaging services and online official DoD information must be accessible to disabled DoD personnel and disabled members of the public. Access must be comparable to that available to nondisabled individuals, in compliance with the requirements and alternatives in DoD Manual 8400.01. Current specific standards and methods are available at https://www.section508.gov/
Also in DODI 8170.01
3.13. DOD WEBSITE CONTACT INFORMATION. Link to contact information from all major entry points on DoD websites. Consolidate the following contact information for the organization managing the website on a single “Contact Us” page: d. Contact information to report availability, accessibility, technical and information quality problems.