[Athen] Accessible Classroom A/V Controls

Teresa Haven Teresa.Haven at nau.edu
Fri Jul 24 14:51:33 PDT 2015

Hi, all. I asked a colleague here at our institution to provide comment on this, since she was involved when we had to switch to touchscreens:

We also switched to AV Controls that use a touch screen to control everything. The vendor suggested initially that the controls just be labeled with Braille. However, when it was pointed out that not everybody reads Braille, there was not any other type of accessibility features mentioned. We just had to develop a work-around and create a standard template for how the system is accessed. The control panel also has small (physical) buttons on both the left and right sides that can also be used in place of the touch screen. The template basically spells out the steps to initiate the system (touch anywhere on the touch screen), and then lays out the button positions and what they do (2nd button from top on left side of panel)....etc. Not very efficient, and certainly a lot more work for our co-worker to use independently - sometimes she can remember the sequence, but other times she has to pull up the template and go through the steps with her screen reader - but it's a workaround that was the least painful for everyone.

This is not the ideal and we are still talking with vendors about this issue each time they want to demo a system for us or talk about upgrades.


Teresa Haven, Ph.D.
Accessibility Analyst, Northern Arizona University

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Weissenberger, Todd M
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2015 8:33 AM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu
Cc: Kaltsas, Konstantin G
Subject: [Athen] Accessible Classroom A/V Controls


I just came from an interesting conversation about classroom A/V controls. At Iowa, we've traditionally used push button control units that allow us to operate classroom technology like projectors, microphones, etc. These boxes had limited controls and were relatively easy to use for users with and without disabilities.

Now these push button controllers are beginning to retire, and the new units are controlled via touchscreen. I have to believe that these are inaccessible out of the box, although our vendor has an iOS app that supposedly can control the panel via iPad or similar. Has anyone encountered any issues around inaccessible classroom A/V technology, or implemented any accessibility strategies to mitigate accessibility issues in A/V room controls?

Our vendor is Extron, for what it's worth.


T.M. Weissenberger
Web Accessibility Coordinator
Information Technology Services
University of Iowa


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