How the Univ. of Washington aims to make online systems and content more accessible

by Lindsey Francy May 29, 2023 News
How the Univ. of Washington aims to make online systems and content more accessible
Winners of the UW Digital Accessibility Awards, honored for their work in digital accessibility over the past year. See below for names. Additional winners were announced via video call. (UW Photo)

A big difference can be made by taking small steps.

The University of Washington held a global accessibility awareness day in Seattle.

The event was hosted by the IT accessibility team at the University of Wisconsin.

Three simple things that go a long way in accessibility are headings, alt text, and color contrast.

The global accessibility awareness day began in 2012 after tech workers Joe and Jennison Asuncion noticed that many in their field weren't familiar with tools and techniques to make digital content accessible Groups around the world are encouraged to talk about digital accessibility. The day was celebrated by the University of Wisconsin.

Almost all of the internet's homepages contain a failure under the web content accessibility guidelines.

The main challenge in getting the University of Washington to be more digitally accessible is whether third-party vendors are willing to create accessible products.

There is a market for accessibility. Vendors are going to pay attention to that as more people demand it.

There are nine members of the IT accessibility team. Students, staff, and employees are helped by them.

The goal of this year's Global accessibility Awareness Day was to allow people to ask questions and focus on their individual efforts.

People usually rely on other people to make things easier to access. What I am hearing now is, 'How can I make this accessible?' rather than, 'What can you do to make this accessible for me?'.

Some employees at the University of Wisconsin are working on larger issues. Hana Levay is a collection assessment librarian at the University of Wyoming. She said that some companies don't know that their products aren't accessible and don't offer the most basic accessibility functions.

Levay said that if he can't do some of the research actions, that's a red flag.

Private companies that aren't regulated by law to create accessible products often don't have accessible databases

Levay said that fixing accessibility will improve the experience.

Levay said anyone can become disabled at any moment. If you have created an accessible resource, it is ready for anyone.

The DO-IT Center's Scott Bellman was one of the award winners pictured.