Glossary of terms

The extent that people with the widest range of needs, characteristics and capabilities can use products, services, and facilities to achieve their goals.

Alternate formats
Alternate formats show information in a different way but they do not change the information. Examples are:

Alternative text (text alternative, alt. text)
Text that is associated with non-text content, such as images, so a screen reader can describe it. We do not use alternative text for images that are purely decorative.

Application (app)
Software designed to perform or help the user to perform a specific task or set of tasks.

Assistive device and/or technology
Technology that works with user agents, like a web browser, to make content more accessible for persons with disabilities.

The technology of sound reproduction.

Audio descriptions
Narration added to a soundtrack to describe important visual details that we cannot understand from the main soundtrack alone.

Automated teller machine (ATM)
An ATM is a specialized computer that makes it easy for people to manage their bank accounts. For example, people can use ATMs to deposit or take out money without asking a bank's employees for help.

Anything that hinders the full and equal participation in society of persons with disabilities.

The measurement and analysis of unique physical or behavioral characteristics, like fingerprint or voice patterns, typically for verifying someone's identity.

An online journal where people or groups publish their activities, thoughts or beliefs.

Canada Gazette
The Canada Gazette is the official newspaper of the Government of Canada. Learn about new statutes, new and proposed regulations, administrative board decisions and public notices.

Synchronized visual and/or text alternative for both speech and non-speech audio information needed to understand the media content.

Closed captions
Closed captions are a text version of the soundtrack of a television, movie or computer presentation. The soundtrack includes the spoken dialogue and also important background noises and audio cues, like a telephone ringing.

Closed system
When a system or technology prevents users from attaching, installing or using assistive technology.

Refers to the legal requirements an organization must meet. External bodies, authorities, or governing jurisdictions establish those requirements.

Satisfying all the requirements of a given standard, guideline or specification.

Digital (or electronic) document
A document that we can read that is paperless in its original form. An example of this is an invoice that a customer receives as a PDF file via email.

Any impairment or functional limitation that, with a barrier, hinders a person's full and equal participation in society.

Electronic payment terminal (EPT) or point of sale (POS) terminal
A device that interfaces with payment cards to make electronic funds transfers.

EN 301 549
The European standard for digital accessibility. It describes how to make information and communications technology accessible for people with disabilities.

Federal entities/federally regulated sector
Industries and workplaces regulated by the Canada Labour Code.

A tangible device, piece of equipment, or physical component of information and communication technologies (ICT), such as telephones, computers, multifunction copy machines, or keyboards.

A uniform resource locator (URL) that, when selected, takes a user to a section in the same webpage, or to a different webpage.

Hypertext markup language (HTML)
HTML is the most basic building block of web pages. HTML defines the structure and content of web pages.

Image contrast
The difference in brightness between light and dark areas of an image. Contrast determines the number of shades in the image.

Inclusive design
Design that considers the full range of human diversity, including:

iOS (iPhone operating system)
A mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware.

Keyboard interface
Interface used by software to obtain input when we use a keyboard.

Keyboard shortcut
Alternative means of triggering an action when we press one or more keys.

Lifecycle management
The process of managing a product's lifecycle from design and manufacturing, to sales, service, retirement and disposal.

A set of selectable options.

The combined use of several media, like text, audio, images, video, and animations to convey information.

Native software
A software program that works on a specific platform or device. For example, some applications only work on Android, while some others are specific to iOS.

Non-web document
A document that is not a web page, not embedded in web pages nor used to render a web page.

Non-web software
Software that is not a web page, not embedded in web pages nor used in to render a web page.

Personal identification number (PIN)
A numeric (sometimes alpha-numeric) passcode used in the process of authenticating a user accessing a system.

Platform software
Software that interacts with hardware or provides services for other software.

An audio program that is in a digital format that we can access over the Internet.

Regulated entity
An entity or person who must comply with one or more regulations.

Relay service (message relay service, video relay service)
Relay services help people who have hearing or speech disabilities. In Canada, we use relay services to place calls to standard telephones using a keyboard, assistive device or sign language. Relay service connect users with a relay operator who translates between:

Safe harbour (exemption)
A concept included in the Revised Section 508 regulations. An agency can get a safe harbour exemption for unaltered/existing ICT that complies with an old version of a standard. ICT with a safe harbour exemption does not have to be modified or upgraded to conform to a newer standard.

Screen reader
Software for persons with visual disabilities that reads the contents of a computer screen, converting the text to speech.

Section 508 and section 255 guidelines
Accessibility requirements for ICT covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act in the United States of America.

Self contained, closed products
Products with embedded software that do not give users the ability to easily attach or install assistive technology.

A set of instructions, data or programs used to operate computers and to do specific tasks. Software includes applications, non-web software, and platform software.

Speech recognition
Computer hardware and software that identifies and processes words a person has spoken into a system.

Success criteria (for WCAG)
WCAG success criteria are testable statements. The success criteria are what determine "conformance" to WCAG. That is, in order to meet WCAG, the content needs to meet the success criteria.

Tablet (tablet computer)
A tablet is a wireless, portable personal computer with a touchscreen interface.

Device or software that provides the user interface through which the end user directly interacts. For some systems, the software that provides the user interface may reside on more than one device such as a telephone and a server.

A pointing device consisting of a ball held by a socket containing sensors to detect the ball's rotation. A trackball looks like an upside-down mouse with an exposed, protruding ball.

Text version of the speech and non-speech audio information needed to understand the content.

Uniform resource locator (URL)
A URL is a resource's address on the web. For example, what a user types into a browser's address bar to go to a website.

A vendor is a business that sells goods or services.

Web application (web app)
Software that runs in an Internet browser.

Web chat
A way for people to communicate through messages via the internet.

Web content
Web content refers to the information in a web page or web application. This includes text, images, audio and video.

Web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG)
Accessibility guidelines established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) under their Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). WCAG explains how to make web content more accessible to persons with disabilities.

Webpage (web page)
A web page is a document, commonly written in HTML, that we view in an Internet browser.

Website (web site)
A series of web pages and related content linked together with hyperlinks.

World wide web consortium (W3C)
An international community where member organizations, full-time staff and the public work together to develop web standards.

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