Equivalent Information

Access to the general curriculum includes the concept of equivalent information.  Subpart 1194.22(a) of Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology states, "A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via “alt”, “longdesc”, or in element content)."1

In other words: If you can see it, you should also be able to hear it.  If you can hear it, you should also be able to see it.  The idea is that the equivalent information must serve the same purpose as the visual or auditory content.

This guideline emphasizes the importance of providing text equivalents of non-text content (images, pre-recorded audio, video). The power of text equivalents lies in their capacity to be rendered in ways that are accessible to people from various disability groups using a variety of technologies. Text can be readily output to speech synthesizers and braille displays, and can be presented visually (in a variety of sizes) on computer displays and paper.2

The information in this learning module is intended to address those text and audio equivalents that you, as faculty, can provide for your students to ensure all students have access to equivalent information.

a text equivalent for images or sound is expected for accessibility

1 "Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology." United States Access Board. 21 Dec 2000.  Web. 12 Nov 2014. <http://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-section-508-standards/section-508-standards>.
2 "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0." W3C Recommendations.  5 May 1999. Web. 12 Nov 2014. <http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/#gl-provide-equivalents>.
Next: Making Text Accessible