Equality, diversity and inclusion at Aalto

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

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


Digital Accessibility Guidance

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 Finnish Act on the Provision of Digital Services 306/2019.

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.

Digital accessibility and the application of the Finnish Act on the Provision of Digital Services in universities

Digital accessibility is not only about technical standards, web architecture, platforms 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)

Braille keyboard

Digipalvelulain soveltamisesta yliopistoissa (in Finnish) (external link)

Available only in Finnish: Tässä artikkelissa tarkastellaan digipalvelulain aiheuttamia muutoksia yliopistojen vastuissa liittyen tuottamiinsa digitaalisten palveluiden saatavuuteen ja saavutettavuuteen. Artikkeli myös avaa keskeiset lakiin liittyvät käsitteet.

Saavutettavuusvaatimusten siirtymäajat

Digital accessibility requirements (in Finnish) (external link)

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

Keyboard with the accessibility key

Web Accessibility (external link)

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.

Tabletin näytöllä teksti Tehdään digipalveluista saavutettavat

Let's make accessible digital services (external link)

Your service must be accessible to everyone who needs it. You may be breaking the law if you do not make it accessible. Start by thinking how Aalto users might access and use your service before you design or build anything. A short summary in Finnish.

Illustration of digital way of working

Digital Service on a Digital Platform (external link)

A Digital Service is a software service designed to fulfil a product capability and run on a Digital Platform. Such a service might be a monolith, or composed of multiple microservices. It’s owned by a single Digital Service team responsible for understanding its customers, and producing a service that meets their needs.

Group of people using smart phones

The Digital Services Act: ensuring a safe and accountable online environment (external link)

For the first time a common set of rules on intermediaries' obligations and accountability across the single market will open up new opportunities to provide digital services across borders, while ensuring a high level of protection to all users, no matter where they live in the EU.

1 Accessibility guidelines for teachers and other document publishers

Collection of instructions for a fluent digital publishing.

Instructions to produce accessible content in a single file or document

Make and publish accessible documents with the MS Accessibility Checker

Many Microsoft 365 apps include an Accessibility Checker that finds accessibility problems and lists suggestions.

Keyboard with blue keys for wheelchair, hearing aid and white stick

Digital services for teaching

The Teacher Services team develops digital services for teaching and learning and provides support for their use. The team is part of the Learning Services.

Looking at course information on MyCourses

Listening and reading aids (external link)

Various aids are available for reading many higher education books. This page includes examples of aids and tips for using them.

Näppäimistön Accessibility-näppäin

Microsoft accessibility (external link)

With more than 1 billion people with disabilities in the world, Microsoft believes that accessibility is essential to delivering on our mission to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” However, our mission doesn’t begin and end with the products we create and the services we offer. It extends to the culture of our workplace and weaving accessibility into the fabric of our company—from hiring people with disabilities, to creating inclusive marketing, and awarding our Accessibility in Action digital badge.

A laptop screen with an article titled Microsoft accessibility features

Captions for Panopto videos (external link)

Instructions on how to create and edit captions in Panopto.

A screen capture of video with captions

Panopto media service

Panopto media service for uploading and sharing videos and for creating video captures and webcasts.

panopto logo and computer

Accessibility of files (external link)

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

Book shelves in the library full of books

University of Helsinki: Accessibility of teaching (external link)

Accessibility guidelines by University of Helsinki including instructions for courses.

University of Helsinki

ReadSpeaker: Text To Speech Online (external link)

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

Text to speech icon

WordPress Accessibility (external link)

The WordPress community and the open source WordPress project is committed to being as inclusive and accessible as possible. WordPress aims to make the WordPress Admin and bundled themes fully WCAG 2.0 AA compliant where possible.

WordPress logo

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.

2 Accessibility in the web

Aalto.fi platform

All Aalto's websites and services must fulfil the accessibility guidelines. The easiest way to improve your online presence is to create you web pages as part of the aalto.fi site. The aalto.fi platform is by default accessible, and you won't have to think about the technical side, only ensure your content and links follow the guidelines. Contact communications department to learn more about aalto.fi or learn more about the Drupal platform through the links below.

Drupal: Aalto.fi website

Here, you can find instructions on how to make the most out of aalto.fi to visualise your pages and make your content findable. This page is also for the latest Drupal news and events.

On the right edge a person with shoulder-length hair is moving out of the picture; behind them is a black background with narrow light strings horizontally on it.

All Drupal instructions

This page compiles all Drupal instructions. Drupal is the content management system of the aalto.fi website.

General writing guidelines for articles in English

How to write and edit English-language press releases and news.

Kuvituskuva näppäimistöstä. Kuvittaja: Ida-Maria Wikström.

Other websites

If you are creating a separate website from aalto.fi, you should still ensure your website is accessible. 

  • Get to know the basics of digital accessibility requirements for the web through the links below. These instructions are for other platforms than aalto.fi (e.g. Wordpress).
  • Utilize the Aalto Design system components - they have been designed and developed to follow accessibility guidelines
  • Begin by publishing the Accessibility statement on your updated pages.

Aalto Design system

Write and add the accessibility statement for your website or service

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.

LexDis: What is a website (external link)

What is a website and does it meet web accessibility regulations? The new regulations in Europe require each website to have an accessibility statement and, due to the age of the website, sites owned by the same organisation may have a different timeline for complying with the regulations. Source: ECS Accessibility Team (University of Southampton)

A Website is a coherent collection of one or more related web pages that together provide common use or functionality.

Links to guidelines and instructions about accessibility on websites, VLEs and social media

New videos published on the site need to be captioned

Hybrid way of teaching and working

In the future, it is desired to invest even more in a hybrid model that utilizes both contact and remote learning. 

Collaboration tools (sharepoint.com)

Hybrid teaching in Aalto University - OPIT - Aalto University Wiki

Tools on red

Collaboration tools for hybrid way of working (external link)

Collection of digital collaboration tools for Aalto community

Comparison of collaboration tools

Collaboration tools enable collaboration and data sharing within groups, as well as publishing data to internet. All the services mentioned below can be accessed with Aalto username and password


Ways to keep your digital skills updated

Promote your digital skills via formal training and by getting inspiration from your co-workers and everyone in the Aalto community.

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 Accessibility Guidance by other Universities

Excellent resources to understand digital accessibility provided by European universities. Study by The Finnish Institute of Technology (FITech) courses produced by Tampere University and MOOCs of  Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart. Benchmark Glasgow and Harvard guidelines and resources to make your content accessible.

Keyboard with blue keys for wheelchair, hearing aid and white stick

Tampere University open courses on accessibility (external link)

FITech Network University offers selected studies from all Finnish universities of technology. Update your digital skills free of charge. Courses are open and available for everyone from students to adults in working life. Search e.g. for "accessibility"

Logo of Hochschule der Medien

Accessible Learning and Teaching (en) (external link)

Start your exploration of accessible and inclusive teaching practice with the MOOC of Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart

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 (external link)

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 (external link)

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

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

Digital Aalto is a university-level strategic initiative that helps us shape a sustainable future.

banner image with text digivisio2030.fi and 3 persons

Digivisio 2030 project's website (external link)

National learning data reserves for use by individuals and society. Finland is a model country for flexible learning in 2030. Learners are provided with data on their own learning in a secure manner. This enables and supports their learning throughout their lives.

Accessible Aalto

A happy student slides downhill a snowbank

Accessible Aalto

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

Equality, diversity and inclusion at Aalto
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