[Athen] A disturbing trend

kerscher at montana.com kerscher at montana.com
Tue Jun 15 13:33:49 PDT 2021

Hello All,

Debee, excellent points. I would extend this trend to document accessibility
and not just websites. IMO our institutions of higher learning should be
encouraging documents to be written to be accessible from the beginning.
English 101 should make it clear that the papers written must be accessible.
Now that people are reading more-and-more online, the use of modern
publishing techniques for online reading should be encouraged. All the word
processors now produce EPUB, and Word is probably the best, and it has an
accessibility checker as well. We should also be asking our professors to do
the same.

My $.02



From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf
Of Deborah Armstrong
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 10:52 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] A disturbing trend

I'm attending an accessibility workshop today held by the California
Community colleges for all our campuses.

Several accessibility checking and remediation tools are being featured, and
I think it's wonderful these applications are being more widely employed.

But I had a couple of luddite thoughts as well. It seems like colleges, now
instead of training folks are throwing accessibility checkers at the
problem. Is it no longer valuable for individuals to learn when they aren't
creating accessible content and how to insure they do so, manually and with

Also, though using the accessibility checkers is good, I wonder why we don't
also use human testers especially since we can often get student workers to
do that job. Ask students with various disabilities to try out a website or
document using various AT and fill out forms reating their impressions.

I'm not suggesting this be done instead of automated accessibility checkers
but in addition. It tells us first whether students need more AT training
and second whether a document which checks out accessible is actually usable
by the average disabled student.

I've done some accessibility testing for Yahoo, Google and Ebay. Though I'm
under NDA and cannot discuss the specifics one common theme was this. I was
videotaped and asked to relate my impressions as I navigated various pages
and performed tasks I was assigned. I searched for items, filled in forms,
located information. Those tapes were shared with developers so they could
see real, live disabled people working with their content.

Lastly, we use Canvas here and our faculty received training on creating
accessible pages. Most of them do. That's not a problem. The real problem is
faculty who instead of building a page simply post a link to a scan (often
made with their camera phone) of a textbook page, or an assignment page
they've photocopied or even a word document they created for a previous
class. I understand faculty don't want to spend hours typing, but posting a
scan instead of creating an accessible page is not an inclusive solution.
And because it's often a link to a file, automated checkers don't usually
catch it.

For me the trend is relying on automation rather than education which
bothers me most.


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