Digital Accessibility Glossary and Acronyms


ADA, WCAG, Section 508, Title III… digital accessibility acronyms and terms can be confusing! This glossary can make accessibility easier to understand and help you reach your compliance and accessibility goals.

Section 508

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – On January 18, 2017, the U.S. Access Board published a final rule updating document and website accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP) is tasked under this law to provide technical assistance to help Federal agencies comply with these requirements and ensure that covered ICT is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.


Americans With Disabilities Act: The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.

Connected (or Refreshable) Braille Display

A refreshable Braille display is a piece of computer hardware that has a series of refreshable Braille cells on its surface. Each Braille dot in these cells is represented by a tiny pin that can be raised or lowered. This allows individuals who are blind to read information in Braille by running their fingers over the refreshable braille cells and then advancing the display to show the next set of characters. Connected Braille displays work in conjunction with screen reading technology to convey digital information to the user. Whatever information the screen reader is able to provide is displayed in Braille on the device.

DAISY Consortium

Digital Audio-Based Information System is a global consortium of organizations committed to developing global solutions for accessible publishing and reading, in partnership with civil society, publishing and technology industries, standards bodies, and governments.


Electronic Publication: an e-book file format that uses the “.epub” file extension. The term is short for electronic publication and is sometimes styled ePub. EPUB is supported by many e-readers, and compatible software is available for most smartphones, tablets, and computers. EPUB is a technical standard published by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).


HyperText Markup Language. HTML is considered to be more accessible because it is easier to update and maintain. As compared to PDFs, which are designed for static presentation of data, HTML is more responsive to changing technology, being designed to scale, fit, and wrap to different browsers on different screen sizes.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: A federal law that sets requirements for the education of all students with disabilities. IDEA often requires e-learning platforms and other digital resources to be accessible.


Job Access With Speech. Screen reading technology. See Screen Readers for more information.


Non-Visual Desktop Access. Free open-source screen reading technology. See Screen Readers for more information.


Portable Document Format: A file format that provides an electronic image of text or text and graphics that looks like a printed document and can be viewed, printed, and electronically transmitted.

Screen Reader

A screen reader is an assistive technology, primarily used by people with vision impairments. Using digital tags contained within digital content, it converts text, buttons, images, and other screen elements into speech or Braille.


Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. An internationally recognized set of digital accessibility standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). They are based on 4 main pillars- Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.


World Wide Web Consortium: An international community where member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C’s mission is to lead the Web to its full potential.

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