Frequently Asked Questions

Is support for accessible IT available to UW faculty and staff?

  • For web accessibility issues, there are a variety of options available. For additional information see Help with Web Accessibility.
  • The Access Technology Center (ATC), located in the Mary Gates Hall Computing Resource Center, is equipped with a variety of assistive technologies, and ATC staff are available by appointment to provide tours, demonstrations of AT, and accessible design consultation and testing.
  • UW Technology offers Computer Training classes on the Fundamentals of Web Publishing, which include the basics of creating websites that are accessible.
  • Questions can be sent to UW Technology consultants by either going to the Send a Question to UW Technology page or by emailing your question to help@uw.edu.

Where can I find good tutorials on accessible web design?

The Tools and Resources page on the current website includes a list of tutorials and other resources for learning about all facets of accessible IT, including accessible web design.

Does my favorite authoring software or publishing program produce documents that are accessible?

Some products are better than others at supporting accessible design standards. Some products are capable of producing accessible output, but don’t do so automatically, instead requiring users to have specific knowledge and to implement additional steps beyond what might be part of your current workflow.

UW Technology is currently creating a web space where UW developers can collaborate and support one another on better understanding the accessibility features of specific products they’re using, and on documenting promising practices for producing accessible materials. Refer to the Collaboration page of the current site for updates on this project.

Where can I get answers to my questions about specific file formats or technologies such as PDF, Flash, PowerPoint, multimedia, and others?

The DO-IT Knowledge Base, developed at the UW by The DO-IT Center, contains hundreds of articles including answers to common questions, case studies, and promising practices regarding accessibility of technology, college, graduate school, and careers for individuals with disabilities. The DO-IT Knowledge Base provides a good starting point getting a basic overview of a particular accessibility topic, with links to the best hand-picked resources for finding additional information about that topic.

How can I test my Web site for accessibility?

Several free tools are available for this purpose. Consult the Accessibility Evaluation Tools section of the Tools and Resources page of the current site for an up-to-date list.

How can I test my web site or software product with assistive technology?

The Access Technology Center (ATC), located in the Mary Gates Hall Computing Resource Center, is equipped with a variety of assistive technologies, and can be used for this purpose. ATC staff is available by appointment to assist with selecting relevant AT products and learning the basics of using them for testing.

A growing selection of free and open source assistive technology products are also available. For an up-to-date list, consult the Assistive Technology section of the Tools and Resources page of the current website.

What kinds of problems might I have if my IT is not accessible?

Inaccessible IT, including websites, can result in complaints, lawsuits, or regulatory action by federal and state agencies. There were 3,025 complaints of disability-related discrimination filed with U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in 2006 alone (source: OCR FY 2006 Report to Congress). The following are examples of the results of such actions against higher education institutions:

What if I am purchasing a product or design service from an outside company?

Demand accessibility of outside vendors. Make accessibility a criteria in comparing products and making procurement decisions. Build accessibility requirements into contracts and requests for proposals. Additional information is available on the Procurement page of this site.

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