University of Washington: A Promising Practice in Using Existing Policies to Support Web Accessibility Practices

DO-IT Factsheet #1247

Postsecondary institutions nationwide are making increasing use of information technology. Using technology has become a daily occurrence in the lives of most students. Unfortunately, some electronic resources are not accessible to some students with disabilities. Inaccessible web pages are of particular concern because of the great number of them used in higher education for everything from activities registration to course delivery.

To address the issue of the accessibility of campus websites, some institutions have adopted separate policies about web accessibility. In contrast, the University of Washington is one of the schools that considers its nondiscrimination policy [1] adequate for promoting the accessible design of websites on campus. For complying with this policy, the central computing organization, Computing & Communications, developed and maintains a website, Guidelines for Publishing on the UW Web Site for campus webmasters. Technical support is provided by staff within the Access Technology Lab. The Disability Resources for Students Office staff and the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance officer also promote accessible web design on campus.

A promising practice is to use an institution's general nondiscrimination policy to justify making campus websites accessible to people with disabilities.

For more information on web accessibility policies and practices, consult

Ohio State University: A Promising Practice on Web Accessibility Support

University of Wisconsin–Madison: A Promising Practice on Development, Articulation, and Support of a Web Accessibility Policy

Which educational entities have developed web accessibility policies?

Are there any court cases on web accessibility and the obligations of postsecondary institutions under Section 504 or ADA?

For additional information about the higher education institutions and IT you may also wish to view the video IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say in which university presidents, chief information officers, and other information technology (IT) leaders discuss the importance of IT accessibility on college campuses.