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Resources to create accessible and inclusive digital experiences at Ryerson

May 20, 2021

To: All employees

May 20, 2021 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), external link and Ryerson is furthering the GAAD initiative to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and inclusion. To this end, we are sharing broadly digital accessibility resources so that you can apply practices to your work that will help ensure everyone’s inclusion in what we share online.

When we are not mindful of accessibility, we can unknowingly create barriers for colleagues and students with disabilities who may use assistive technologies to access emails, documents, websites, applications, social media posts and other forms of digital materials.


Removing barriers from our digital materials 

Ensuring accessibility and inclusion in digital materials is a shared responsibility amongst all faculty and staff. There are many tangible efforts you can make to create a more accessible environment for people with disabilities, and those who use assistive technology. For instance, adding alternative text to images within documents gives people who use screen readers an equivalent text-based description of the images.

Additionally, when drafting an email or document, avoid using ambiguous phrases such as “click here” or including a long, unintelligible URL as link text. Instead, use concise text that captures the purpose or destination of the page to which it links.

Check out guides and resources for tips and tricks

Learn more tips like this in our guide to creating accessible documents. You can also explore additional topics such as social media accessibility and inclusive teaching tips in our guides and resources.

We’ll also be sharing great tips online through the @RyersonECI Twitter account., external link Follow the #GAAD and #AccessRyerson hashtags on Twitter to join the conversation.

Play the Accessibility Maze

For people who do not experience barriers, it can be difficult to empathize with the challenges that people with disabilities often face when navigating the web. Developed at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education here at Ryerson, the Accessibility Maze is a game created for those who are new to web accessibility to gain firsthand experience on what it’s like to encounter accessibility barriers.

Captioning and transcription

Closed captions for videos and transcripts for audio content are intended to support people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. In fact, captions benefit everyone and have been shown to support the learning for people who speak English as an additional language, people with learning disabilities, and people who are new to a discipline and may be unfamiliar with unique terminology. Learn more about captioning and description.

Real-time, automatic captioning now available in Zoom

Use the new Live Transcript feature in Zoom, which offers real-time, automatic speech recognition (ASR) transcripts or subtitles for meetings and webinars, similar to the closed captioning feature in Google Meets. Learn more about the Live Transcript feature in Zoom.

Creating video or audio content with captions/transcripts

If you’re creating multimedia for Ryerson-affiliated websites or social media accounts, all videos must have closed captions and audio content must have an accompanying transcript. Whenever starting a new multimedia project, budget for captioning in the same way you would budget for video editing, equipment and other expenses. Alternatively, you can learn how to caption videos yourself for free.

Preferred pricing has been negotiated for Ryerson employees with Ai Media, a global leader in captioning, transcription, translation and audio description services. For more information, please review the google docVendor of Record for Audio/Video Captioning and Transcription Services rate card., external link

Multimedia materials for courses

When multimedia content is developed for courses and will be reused in subsequent courses, videos must be captioned and audio content must be transcribed prior to dissemination. While this requirement does not apply to third-party or supplementary content, it is highly recommended that captioned content is sourced at the outset to minimize the need for individuals to request accommodation.

You may also wish to:

Accommodating students within a course

If you have students registered with Academic Accommodation Support (AAS) who require captioning or description, these resources may be helpful to you:

Website accessibility 

If you manage a website that is affiliated with the university’s programs, services or activities, January 1, 2021 marked an important compliance deadline Ryerson must fulfil under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Section 14 of the AODA requires all internet websites and web content to conform with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 at Level AA. These guidelines are designed to make information accessible for people with disabilities and people who use assistive technology.


For more information or if you have questions about digital accessibility, please contact Adam Chaboryk, IT accessibility specialist at

To learn more about accessibility at Ryerson, please visit the Access Ryerson website or contact Heather Willis, accessibility coordinator at