Digital Accessibility at UIC

Free December 3rd EASI Webinar on Open Source Tools for Web Accessibility Evaluation and Inspection

On December 3rd EASI is offering a free webinar on open source web accessibility evaluation tools:
• Functional Accessibility Evaluator
• AInspector Sidebar
• Accessibility Bookmarklets

More information and registration:

TEACH Act Update Webinar: The Path to Voluntary Guidelines for Accessible Instructional Materials

Tuesday, September 22 at 12-1pm

In November 2013, the Technology, Equality, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education (TEACH) Act was introduced in Congress. The bill was intended to foster the development of voluntary accessibility guidelines for post-secondary electronic instructional materials and related technologies. The higher education community, however, expressed concern that the way the act sought to accomplish this would likely prevent it from doing so, to the detriment of both students with disabilities and the institutions that seek to serve them.

Starting in the fall of 2014, major higher education associations, including the American Council on Education (ACE) and EDUCAUSE, began working with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to develop a legislative proposal that could achieve the shared goal of all three communities—generating sustained progress in the accessibility of post-secondary electronic instructional materials. This webinar will address the progress the groups have achieved in developing draft legislation, including its core elements, as well as its likely path through the legislative process.

* Jon Fansmith, Director, Government Relations, American Council on Education
* Jarret Cummings, Director, Policy and External Relations, EDUCAUSE
* Host: Marc Hoit, Vice Chancellor & CIO, NC State University

iTunes Pulling Content That Is Not Closed Captioned

iTunes started pulling any content that is not closed captioned on July 1st. iTunes is working to be compliant with the requirements of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). For more information check out this information on the captionmax blog.

United Nations Posts Creative and Informative Web Accessibility Site

Didn’t think accessible sites could be both creative and informative? The UN posted a great site that allows you to experience web accessibility concepts as well as provide tools and guidelines for accessibility. The UN Web Accessibility site is a creative resource that can help with understanding how an accessible page can be developed.

Take the #NoMouse Challenge and Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Thursday, May 21st is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, celebrate by taking the #NoMouse Challenge. The University of Washington campus launched a new website, The site encourages everyone to “Take the #NoMouse Challenge!” Try checking a website or online course without a mouse.

Discrimination Lawsuit Alleging that Miami University (Ohio) Uses Inaccessible Educational Technologies and Course Materials

The Justice Department announced on May 12, 2015 that it has moved to intervene in Aleeha Dudley v. Miami University, et al., 14-cv-038 (S.D. Ohio), a private lawsuit alleging disability discrimination by Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In the United States’ motion to intervene and complaint, the United States alleges that Miami University has violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by requiring current and former students with disabilities to use inaccessible websites and learning management system software, and by providing these students with inaccessible course materials. The motion was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio. Here is the full article related to the lawsuit.

FAE 2.0 and AInspector Sidebar for Evaluating WCAG 2.0 Requirements presentation by Jon Gunderson

Jon Gunderson, Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology Accessibility, at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presented remotely for UIC’s WebPros Brownbag on April 2, 2015. The topic was concerning the new version of the online Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE) tool that analyzes websites for adherence to accessibility requirements. The new FAE 2.0 analyzes sites for the accessibility requirements defined by the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Single A and AA Success Criteria. It supports accessible and usable design in coding practices such as the W3C Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) 1.0 specification. The presentation is now available online for those who missed it.

Building University Wide IT Accessibility

Building university wide IT accessibility is a goal on the UIC campus and the Digital Accessibility Committee is here to help with that goal. Temple University has ramped up its accessibility efforts across the board. In a recent article in Campus Technology, an information source for higher education, David Raths (a Philadelphia-based freelance writer focused on information technology) writes about Temple’s efforts in improving campus wide IT accessibility. The article “Building University-Wide IT Accessibility” talks about Temple University’s strategy and gives tips that other universities, including our own campus, can follow to improve their digital accessibility efforts.

Netflix Begins Audio Description for Visually Impaired

Here is a post on April 14th, 2015 on Netflix’s Blog:
“At Netflix, we work hard to continually improve the experience for our members when viewing movies and shows on our service, including providing accessibility across devices. Now we’re expanding our accessibility options by adding audio description on select titles, beginning today with our new critically acclaimed series, Marvel’s Daredevil.

Audio description is a narration track that describes what is happening on-screen, including physical actions, facial expressions, costumes, settings and scene changes. Customers can choose audio narration just like choosing the soundtrack in a different language.

In coming weeks, we’ll add more titles, including current and previous seasons of the Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning political thriller House of Cards, Emmy award-winning comedy-drama series Orange is the New Black, as well as Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the epic adventure series Marco Polo.

Netflix is actively committed to increasing the number of audio-visual translations for movies and shows in our English-language catalogues. We are also exploring adding audio description into other languages in the future.

Over time, we expect audio description to be available for major Netflix original series, as well as select other shows and movies. We are working with studios and other content owners to increase the amount of audio description across a range of devices including smart TVs, tablets and smartphones.”

United States Access Board Moving Forward with 508 Standards Refresh

The United States Access Board has published “Proposed Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines” that would refresh the Section 508 web accessibility guidelines to the more up to date Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. WCAG 2.0 has been widely accepted as the consensus standard. It would also make WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria applicable not only to content on the “World Wide Web” (hereafter, Web), but also to non-Web electronic documents and software (e.g., word processing documents, portable document format files, and project management software). The new proposed standards and guidelines are in a comment period until May 28, 2015. The soonest the new guidelines would become the new 508 legal standard would be by January 2016. The Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) guidelines are based on the Section 508 guidelines and most likely the IITAA would change to make the new 508 standard its own standard. The University of Illinois at Chicago is legally required to meet the IITAA standards.
Proposed Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines page is a great place to find out about the new proposed standards and guidelines. It is also a place to submit comments.

Digital Accessibility Legal Update (2015)

It is legally required to make digital information accessible and there have been several legal developments in digital accessibility the past year. Lainey Feingold from Law Office of Lainey Feingold presented at this year’s CSUN 2015 International Technology and People with Disabilities conference in San Diego, CA on March 4, 2015. She gave a summary of all the Digital Accessibility legal developments for the past year. Many of the legal developments were in higher education. A complete summary of what she presented is online at Digital Accessibility Legal Update (CSUN 2015).

Why websites must be accessible