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Get Quick Smarts about Accessibility from The "CAST/AEM Figuration" Web Creation Tool

A quick lesson in website accessibility is tucked into a chart from The National AEM Center, a federally funded initiative that promotes widespread selection and use of accessible educational materials (AEM).

In an open source Css/Javascript tool created for web developers, there is information to help educators, media specialists, tech specialists and parents understand that accessibility features, when present in websites, stand to benefit the widest audience of viewers. 

Lessons In Accessibility  

The tool may not seem relevant for most staff in school settings, but its components create a quick lesson about student-friendly learning for all, but especially for students with disabilities who have difficulties with attention, learning, and sensory or physical disabilities. What is a necessity for them provides great flexibility for all website users. 

Take a look:  

A Brief Description Of Web Accessibility 

Media literacy lessons and website evaluations always should include discussions about accessibility. The CAST Figuration tool used by web developers working with HTML5 is openly licensed and by design is a "feature-rich, responsive, mobile first, accessible, front-end framework," CAST explains on its website. It is  a "starting point for building an accessible, cross-device, interactive website."  

This tech tool covers: 

  • Styles for text and buttons
  • Interactive elements such as menus, tabs, sliders, and modal dialogs
  • Column and grid layouts that adapt to the screen and device in use
  • Color schemes that pass WCAG contrast checks, and
  • Advanced components such as an HTML5 audio and video player with interactive captions

These components are designed so as to be usable with "a mouse, keyboard, or touch interaction and accessible to screen readers and other assistive technology."

Born Accessible Websites Are Different

CAST’s approach to adding accessibility from the start happens by embedding accessibility functionality into widgets so it is automatically applied as needed. "This approach accelerates functional updates without having to individually revise each project or module. In addition, this method means that development teams can create accessible sites without as much effort and specialized knowledge." For more information, check the link describing Figuration


  • For additional information on making wise technology purchases, check out the AEM Center's PALM initiative.
  • To conduct a quick check online check of accessibility of any web page, use the WebAIM WAVE tool. Enter a web URL and a display page returns tags to show good and bad points. WebAIM is a nonproft web accessibility services firm based at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University.
  • Read, "Experts Say Some Websites Are No Better than Lipstick on a Pig!" [AIM-VA blog, March 27, 2014].
  • Keep up with "Website Accessibility: Ten Things School Districts Should Know," by Christina Samuels on Aug. 8 on
We Are AIM-VA 

Accessible educational materials (AEM) help to create access to the curriculum for students with dyslexia, learning disabilities, vision or physical challenges, and others. A federally funded AEM program in every state assures that books in alternative formats are provided free of charge to eligible students with disabilities whose education teams take action. The AEM program operates under a legal exception to federal copyright law. Check out the AIM-VA home page to learn more about eligibility in Virginia. In other states, contact a special education teacher, a school administrator or download a list of AEM state contacts.External Link to AEM state contacts (New Window).

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