MSU Denver

Glossary of Accessibility Terms


Screen Reader:

A device commonly used by people who are blind or visually impaired. A screen reader uses text and code to verbally describe what is on the computer screen.


Auditory Processing Disorder:

Interferes with a person’s ability to distinguish sounds, single out specific sounds in loud environments, or follow oral instructions.

Visual Processing Disorder:

Interferes with a person’s ability to process visual information (e.g. dyslexia and dysgraphia).

Color Blindness:

Interferes with a person’s ability to see color or distinguish colors.  Usually occurs in specific pairs: red & green, blue & yellow, purple & orange, but there is also total color blindness.


Deaf/Hard of Hearing:

Permanent total or moderate hearing loss.  Some can hear with technology or surgery.  Deaf people commonly use captions, lip reading, or a sign language interpreter to interact with the hearing world.

Hearing Impaired:

Mild hearing loss.  Usually temporary (e.g. tinnitus).

Speaker Notes:

Notes section at the bottom of PowerPoint slides.  These notes can be read by a screen reader and seen while you are in presentation mode with two displays (i.e. you MSU Denver device and a projector/desktop).


Color Contrast Ratio:

The different between two colors. To be ADA compliant, text and background need to have a ratio of at least 4:5:1 (black on white is 21:1; white on white is 1:1).


Image Captions:

Text that provides context for a figure.  usually below the figure and denotes

The figure number (i.e. Figure 2).  Captions benefit anyone viewing the information.

Alternative Text:

Text attached to a figure that is read by a screen reader. Described the photo to the user.

Closed Captions and Subtitles:

Both refer to text over videos.  Closed captions are more detailed as they name speakers and identify sounds.  Subtitles display the audible dialogue only.