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Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Adapting Technology and Building an Accessibility Community at the University of California | Editors' Picks - EDUCAUSE Review

Although accessibility standards, laws, and technologies continually evolve, one truth is constant: Accessibility is about people.

Yvonne Tevis, Chief of Staff in Information Technology Services at the University of California Office of the President says, It's a given. We all support accessibility for people with disabilities, right? After all, we're higher ed. We care. Why, then, is web accessibility still such a challenge for colleges and universities? 

Well, for starters, accessibility
  • seems daunting to launch, and it's resource intensive;
  • requires behavior change, yet there's no easy checklist; and
  • feels like us against the world because governmental agencies insist that we implement accessibility (but don't issue regulations), while suppliers act as though they've never heard of accessibility at all.
At the University of California (UC), we have been working at accessibility a long time, and we can even point to some accomplishments:
  • We have a policy!
  • We include accessibility compliance in our contracts!
But, like other institutions, we don't have unlimited resources to pour into accessibility given so many other pressing demands. We still have a ways to go and, actually, we'll never be done—accessibility is an evolving target as content, standards, and technology continually change...

Learning Always
Like cybersecurity, accessibility requires key players to continually adapt as they figure out what is most needed at that moment. And the target always changes. Accessibility depends on the device or software version being used, and the user's particular abilities.

So, we must always revise and always seek the best approach for a given situation. After all, standards evolve, laws get rewritten, our understanding of accessibility grows, technology jumps ahead, and the players change. We need to keep our sights on continual progress. 


Source: EDUCAUSE Review