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Making Digital Assets Accessible: Universal Design

A resource to help you create accessible digital assets for projects, classes, or use online.

What is Universal Design?

"Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework to guide the design of learning environments that are accessible and challenging for all.  Ultimately, the goal of UDL is to support learners to become “expert learners” who are, each in their own way, purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable, and strategic and goal driven. When environments are intentionally designed to reduce barriers, all learners can engage in rigorous, meaningful learning." (UDL)

Further Information

Universal Design Graphic Organizer


The Universal Design for Learning Guidelines | CAST, Inc. 2018
Universal design for learning guidelines version 2.2 [graphic organizer]. Wakefield, MA: Author.

Column One: Provide multiple means of Engagement
Affective Networks - The “WHY” of Learning
ACCESS - Provide options for Recruiting Interest

  • Optimize individual choice and autonomy
  • Optimize relevance, value, and authenticity
  • Minimize threats and distractions

BUILD - Provide options for Sustaining Effort & Persistence

  • Heighten salience of goals and objectives
  • Vary demands and resources to optimize challenge
  • Foster collaboration and community
  • Increase mastery-oriented feedback

INTERNALIZE - Provide options for Self Regulation

  • Promote expectations and beliefs that optimize motivation
  • Facilitate personal coping skills and strategies
  • Develop self-assessment and reflection

Goal: Expert learners who are - Purposeful & Motivated 

Column Two: Provide multiple means of Representation
Recognition Networks - The “WHAT” of Learning
ACCESS - Provide options for Perception

  • Offer ways of customizing the display of information
  • Offer alternatives for auditory information
  • Offer alternatives for visual information

BUILD - Provide options for Language & Symbols

  • Clarify vocabulary and symbols
  • Clarify syntax and structure
  • Support decoding of text, mathematical notation, and symbols
  • Promote understanding across languages
  • Illustrate through multiple media

INTERNALIZE - Provide options for Comprehension

  • Activate or supply background knowledge
  • Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas, and relationships
  • Guide information processing and visualization
  • Maximize transfer and generalization

Goal: Expert learners who are - Resourceful & Knowledgeable

Column 3: Provide multiple means of Action & Expression
Strategic Networks - The “HOW” of Learning
ACCESS - Provide options for Physical Action

  • Vary the methods for response and navigation
  • Optimize access to tools and assistive technologies

BUILD - Provide options for Expression & Communication

  • Use multiple media for communication
  • Use multiple tools for construction and composition
  • Build fluencies with graduated levels of support for practice and performance

INTERNALIZE - Provide options for Executive Functions

  • Guide appropriate goal-setting
  • Support planning and strategy development
  • Facilitate managing information and resources
  • Enhance capacity for monitoring progress

Goal: Expert learners who are - Strategic & Goal-Directed