Aalto.fi website

Digital Accessibility

The general concept of accessibility applies also to the digital Aalto. Digital accessibility ensures the equal participation of everyone in daily Aalto activities.
Student at laptop. Photo by Aalto University / Aino Huovio

Digital accessibility basics

Accessible digital content is searchable, convenient, and cost-effective. This page provides publishers with the tools and knowledge needed to enable digital accessibility in a team through cultural change and raising awareness of the importance of inclusion. All Aalto publishers need to address digital accessibility as part of their everyday work. Educate yourself and colleagues – this is down to teamwork. Developers should be using WAI-ARIA techniques to make code accessible to assistive technologies, such as screen readers, to be able to validate that the user experience will be good enough. Accessible Web sites, mobile applications and online documents should be:

  • Perceivable - Available through sight, hearing, or touch
  • Operable - Compatible with keyboard or mouse
  • Understandable - User-friendly, easy to comprehend
  • Robust - Works across browsers, assistive technologies, mobile devices, old devices/browsers, etc. Follows standards.

Providing accessible digital content to Aalto community helps implementing Aalto values of quality, inclusion, and connectivity.

    Tim Berners-Lee in front of a blackboard

    The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.
    Tim Berners-Lee


    Accessibility guidelines for Web publishers

    Two Aalto methods to improve the accessibility of your website

    1. The very easy way(TM)

    The easiest way to improve your online presence is to migrate to aalto.fi. Contact communications department to learn more and continue by reading only the great news below.

    Aalto.fi 1st in Scandinavia, 3rd in Europe in accessibility

    Aalto.fi tutorials for site structure and articles

    The new aalto.fi digital communications platform will be simpler than before and contain the different platforms – Inside, Into, Saha, Research & Art, People and more – in the same environment. An article page can be used to present any type of information or content.

    Aalto.fi tutorial – site structure

    This tutorial video, together with other ones to follow, will help you get to know the aalto.fi platform and its features.

    Tutorial graphic 1

    Aalto.fi tutorial – create an article page

    An article page can be used to present any type of information or content. The topic can be, for example, collaboration options, a certain research area or architecture in Otaniemi. Here's how to do that.

    title graphic - how to create an article page

    General writing guidelines for articles in English

    Find out how to write and edit English-language press releases and news — and how they differ in style, format and angle from texts written in Finnish.

    Kuvituskuva näppäimistöstä. Kuvittaja: Ida-Maria Wikström.

    IT Help

    Here you can find instructions related to IT Services.

    aalto it help en
    Communications Services - Aalto University Communications

    2. The other way

    The other way is to study basics of the Web accessibility below. These instructions are for other platforms than aalto.fi (e.g. Wordpress). Follow the instructions and remember to begin by publishing the Accessibility statement on your updated pages.

    European Commission: Web Accessibility

    Web accessibility is not only about technical standards, web architecture and design. It is an issue of political will and of moral obligation, enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

    Keyboard with the accessibility key

    Web Accessibility

    Web accessibility allows everyone, including people with disabilities, to perceive, understand, navigate and interact with the Internet. The same vision of accessibility needs to apply to mobile applications, considering the developments in technology and trends in the last years.

    Accessible Websites, Web pages, VLEs and Social Media

    Report by WWW.POLICYCONNECT.ORG.UK, Accessible Virtual Learning Environments

    The report’s recommendations are aimed at doing much more than simply achieving compliance with the EU Web accessibility regulations. They set out how the requirements can be met in such a way as to improve learning and education for all students whether disabled or not.

    Cover of the report Accessible Virtual Learning Environments

    Accessible Virtual Learning Environments - Making the most of the new regulations

    This report has been produced in advance of the new digital accessibility regulations becoming law in September 2018, to help the Government and FE/HE providers put in place the necessary guidance and practical provisions to turn the regulations into reality.

    Write and add the accessibility statement for your web site

    Reviewing your accessibility statement is an opportunity to check ‘usability’. The accessibility statement is not merely a list of compliance criteria – which in itself is not very helpful. Many assistive technology users have to navigate the entire page before they can even find the statement. A good statement will add value for diverse users by giving them practical advice on how to improve their experience with web browser features or add-ons, or by explaining how to turn on the captions for videos. Thus, the accessibility statement can become a resource for students, partners and employees rather than purely a legal document.

    Accessible documents

    • Publish always as an HTML webpage if possible; It’s the best way to reach as many users as possible. If you do need to publish a document, it should be in addition to an HTML version.
    • Documents like PDFs make your content harder to find, use and maintain. It can be difficult for users to customise them for ease of reading, and they might not work well with assistive technologies like screen readers.

    Accessible documents (Celia) and ReadSpeaker

    Aalto University has a campus licence for ReadSpeaker text to speech.

    Accessibility of files

    Practical instructions (in Finnish) how documents can be made accessible.

    Book shelves in the library full of books

    ReadSpeaker: Text To Speech Online

    Add speech to your website & apps to make your content available to a larger audience.

    Text to speech icon

    Validate your code: The W3C Markup Validation Service

    This validator checks the markup validity of Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc. Although automated testing is easy and free with the W3C validation service or WAVE, it is not sufficient; it can only auto-check about 30% of the accessibility issues. Hence, teams should not rely on these validation tools alone and proper user testing is essential to verify the accessibility of the Website.

    The W3C Markup Validation Service

    This validator checks the markup validity of Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc.

    Two persons by a laptop next to icons of senses

    Video Introduction to Web Accessibility and W3C Standards

    You may use this video if you include a link to this page. More information is available in Using WAI Material: Permission to Use with Attribution.

    W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

    Guidelines for social media and improved content

    These Aalto and Princeton guidelines are intended to help University staff, faculty, and students create accessible social media content.

    Princeton University Social Media Accessibility Guidelines

    These guidelines are intended to help University staff, faculty, and students create social media content that is accessible to people with disabilities.

    Princeton University digital accessibility shield

    Digital accessibility requirements (in Finnish and Swedish)

    Detailed information by ESAVI in Finnish and Swedish about the Web accessibility regulations and transition times

    Saavutettavuusvaatimusten siirtymäajat

    Digital accessibility requirements (in Finnish)

    The EU directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies implemented into Finnish law.

    Digital Accessibility Guidance by other Universities

    Excellent resources to understand digital accessibility regulations that came into force on September 2018. Comparative with the Finnish ESAVI guidance. Benchmark Glasgow and Harvard guidelines and resources to make your content accessible.

    The University of Glasgow official logo consists of the coat of arms and the University of Glasgow logotype

    Digital Accessibility Guidance by the University of Glasgow

    Digital accessibility regulations came into force on September 2018. This regulation implements the EU directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies into UK law.

    Harvard students with laptops sit together in a classroom

    Harvard University digital accessibility

    Harvard is committed to making its digital information and resources more easily available to everyone

    Aalto Space for students, staff and partners

    Aalto Space applikaatio Kuva: Hannes Huotari

    Aalto Space mobile application

    Aalto Space allows you to book conference and group work facilities and helps you navigate the campus.


    Digital Aalto

    Digital Aalto is a university-level strategic initiative and you are invited to join us on our journey towards a digital future.

    Harald Herlin Learning Centre aula

    Digital Aalto

    We have a very ambitious goal: within the next five years we are going to be a leading European university regarding digitalisation research and practice.

    Accessible Aalto

    Lumikinos. Opiskelija laskee mäkeä Alvarin aukiolla. Taustalla kandidaattikeskus.

    Accessible Aalto

    Aalto University strives towards being an accessible, safe and healthy university where research, teaching and services are accessible for all.

    Aalto University
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