Accessibility & Inclusion

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SummaryWe all do better when we all do better.

--Paul Wellstone

Accessibility and inclusion are our shared responsibilities 

The University of Minnesota is committed to the idea that accessibility is everyone's everyday responsibility. Part of accessibility is being accountable to each other.

Disability is not either-or, and neither is accessibility. Each of us has different needs. Writing and designing inclusively requires us to consider that each of us is at one particular--and transient--point on a spectrum of ability. That’s a big shift in thinking for many people.

When you design digital communications, products and spaces in inclusive ways from the beginning, more people will be able to participate without modification (aka accommodation) in your designs.

Impact and commitment

The immediate University community includes our students, staff, and faculty. The wider University community, as defined by our land-grant mission, includes the people of Minnesota and beyond. This includes people with disabilities in categories such as:

  • Mental health conditions (depression, bi-polar disorder)
  • Learning disorders (dyslexia)
  • Physical health conditions (mobility and motor impairments)
  • Sensory-related disabilities (Deaf or hard of hearing, blind or low-vision)

The impacts of these abilities vary from person to person and from situation to situation:

  • A chart that uses only color to represent data doesn’t convey its message to a colleague who is color blind.
  • The audio in the video you play in class may not be accessible to a student with an auditory processing disorder.
  • The website you create might not allow a blind person using screen reader software to access your information or message.

Each of us can contribute to a University that allows for the opportunity for more people to give their gifts and to thrive.  

Responsibility for accessibility is neither “mine” nor “yours”; it’s ours. Make a commitment to help create a more inclusive University community. The information, tips, and tutorials throughout this site will guide you toward building accessibility into your day-to-day work.

Start somewhere, perhaps with one of the six core skills. Pick one and practice. We're all practicing! Get it right, get it wrong, try again. That’s the way we'll create a more inclusive U of M community.

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