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Accessibility Workshop for Brooklyn College: P.O.U.R

POUR General Information

CUNY has pledged to make their digital tools and content accessible. To that end CUNY uses the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG AA) as its accessibility standard. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were created to help define how to make web content more accessible with the goal of providing a single shared standard.

There are four main guiding principles of accessibility upon which WCAG has been built.  These four principles are known by the acronym POUR.

POUR is a way of approaching web accessibility by breaking it down into four main aspects:


Perceivable Definition:

Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. Users need to be able to identify content and interface elements by means of the senses. For many users, this means perceiving a system primarily visually, while for others, perceivability may be a matter of sound or touch.

Perceivable problem examples:

  • A website's navigation consists of a number of links that are displayed in a different order from page to page. If a user has to relearn basic navigation for each page, how can she effectively move through the website?
  • A Word document contains a number of non-English words and phrases. If the languages are not indicated, how can assistive technology present the text correctly?

Perceivable solutions:

Text Alternatives
  • Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
Time-based Media
  • Provide alternatives for time-based media.
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.


Operable Definition:

Means that a user can successfully use controls, buttons, navigation, and other interactive elements of your OER. For many users this means using assistive technology like voice recognition, keyboards, screen readers etc.

Operable problem examples:

  • Mouse-dependent web content will be inaccessible to a person cannot use a standard mouse.
  • People with low or no vision also relay on the functionality of the keyboard. They may be able to manipulate a mouse just fine, but it doesn't do them much good because they can't see where to click on the screen. The keyboard is much easier for a person who is blind to manipulate.

Operable solutions

Keyboard Accessible
  • Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Keyboard accessibility is one of the most important principles of Web accessibility because it cuts across disability types and technologies
Enough Time
  • Provide users enough time to read and use content.
  • Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
  • Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.


Understandable definition:

Users should be able to comprehend the content, and learn and remember how to use your OER site. Your OER should be consistent in its presentation and format, predictable in its design and usage patterns, and appropriate to the audience in its voice and tone.

Understandable problem examples:

  • A website's navigation consists of a number of links that are displayed in a different order from page to page. If a user has to relearn basic navigation for each page, how can they effectively move through your OER?
  • A site makes use of numerous abbreviations, acronyms, and jargon. If these are never defined, how can users with disabilities (and others) understand the content?

Understandable solutions

  • Make text content readable and understandable.
  • Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
Input Assistance
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes.


Robust Definition:

Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of users, allowing them to choose the technology they use to interact with websites, online documents, multimedia, and other information formats. Users should be allowed to choose their own technologies to access OER content.

Robust problem examples:

  • A website requires a specific version of a web browser to make use of its features. If a user doesn't or can't use that browser, how can that user experience the features of the site?
  • A document format is inaccessible to a screen reader on a particular operating system. If a user employs that OS for day-to-day tasks, how can she gain access to the document?

Robust solutions:

  • Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.