IT accessibility is everyone’s responsibility
Do you create anything electronic that other people use, such as documents that are posted online? If so, IT accessibility is part of your job. This means that whatever you produce needs to be accessible to people with disabilities.
Much of what we create, use or procure at work is electronic. Even if what we produce starts in another form, it usually gets stored and retrieved electronically. For example, do you ever create a document that ends up as a PDF posted on the web? If so, that PDF needs to be accessible.
Don’t worry – the UCOP IT Accessibilty Work Group is here to help!
In 2013, UC established the IT Accessibility Policy, formalizing the university’s commitment to ensuring that its electronic environment – which includes websites, applications, online training, online tools, hardware and electronically distributed documents – is accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities.
For example, people with low or no vision should be able to use screen reader software to access websites, people with hearing difficulties should be able to watch videos and understand the content by reading captions, and people who have problems using a mouse should be able to use the keyboard to navigate the online world.
To comply with this policy, each UC location is tasked with developing its own accessibility program. Accordingly, a UCOP IT Accessibility Work Group composed of staff from multiple UCOP departments (including ITS, CDL, Procurement, Communications, Operations, HR, IRAP and ECAS) is raising awareness about the importance of IT accessibility, and helping UCOP staff build it into their daily work.
This group has created an accessibility website for UCOP staff. This resource contains a wealth of information, including how to create accessible surveys, PDFs and websites. Members of the work group are also available to answer any questions you have.
The key is: “Plan ahead, get help and test first.” It’s always better to address accessibility in the beginning of a project rather than at the end when it becomes much more difficult, expensive and time-consuming – and with results that are never as good.
Listed below are examples of common tasks performed at UCOP that require attention to accessibility:
Surveys: UCOP issues a lot of surveys, and they need to be accessible to generate the best response. The IT Accessibility Work Group has developed guidelines, contracted with an accessible survey tool, established procedures for getting the tool, and can help test surveys before they are distributed. The guidelines they developed are so helpful that they’ve been distributed systemwide at UC. Click here for access to their survey tools and resources.
PDFs: UCOP posts a lot of PDFs on public websites but many are not accessible. Click here for easy, step-by-step guidelines for creating accessible PDFs – including a video tutorial for people who prefer to watch and learn.
Procurement: Accessibility starts with choosing IT products carefully. Before selecting or buying any electronic product or service, click here to read the accessibility guidelines.
Testing/consultation: Not sure what you need? ITS will consult with you to help figure out the steps for making sure your project (application, online training, survey, etc.) is accessible.
Have questions? Want to learn more about UCOP’s IT Accessibility Program? Come to an informational brown bag:
DATE: Wednesday, Sept. 14
TIME: 12 to 1 p.m.
LOCATION: Franklin 10325