Computer Facility Access

Videotape Presentation:


As more information is delivered using computer and network technologies, computer labs and workstation clusters play an increasingly important role in ensuring access to electronic information resources for students and employees. In making electronic resources accessible, principles of universal design should be employed.

[Justin uses an AAC device to operate his computer] Typically, organizations design their services and facilities for the average user. "Universal design" means that you design them for people with a broad range of abilities and disabilities. Keep in mind that people using your computer workstations may have learning, visual, speech, hearing, and/or mobility impairments.

Universal Design, Transparency

Universal Design
designing services and resources for people with a broad range of abilities and disabilities.

To plan an accessible environment, think in terms of the following access issues: physical environment, adaptive technology, and electronic resources. These areas are addressed in the videotape presentation and handout, each titled Equal Access: Computer Labs. You can use the list of guidelines in the handout as a starting point for surveying your computer facility for accessibility.

Accessible Labs, Transparency

Accessible Labs
  • physical environment
  • adaptive technology
  • electronic resources

You may find the list of suggestions presented overwhelming as you begin to think about the planning and funding processes involved in implementing all of the suggestions. You may feel that you have to start from scratch and build a whole new computer lab in order to have an accessible facility. However, some of the items have probably already been addressed. With this information, you can develop strategies to begin implementing some of the ideas not already in place. If you cannot take on an expensive project at this time, consider the many low-cost items you can easily accomplish to begin making your computer workstations more accessible.

Physical Environment

Designing an academic or work area that is accessible to everyone begins with the physical environment of the facility. Ask the following questions in determining how to make your facility more accessible.