Balancing Student Needs: A Case Study on Accessibility of Registration Systems

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Background

My name is Keisha and I am a student at a small Midwestern college. I am blind. My college converted from a telephone registration system to an online registration system. They determined that it was not economically feasible to maintain both systems and discontinued the phone system.

Access Issue

The web-based system my college chose is not accessible to screen readers. Without the phone system I had no way to register for my classes.

Solution

I spoke to the registrar about the access barrier. A staff member was assigned to help me register for the upcoming term. The campus hired a consultant to analyze the accessibility of the web-based registration system. The consultant determined that the design could be made accessible to the most current versions of screen readers with some minor adjustments. A plan was implemented to complete this work before the next registration period. Current screen readers were made available in campus computer labs to all students.

Conclusion

This case study demonstrates the following:

  1. In the process of addressing the needs of one population, avoid creating barriers for others.
  2. Disability-related access issues should be considered in the procurement and development process to avoid the costs of retrofitting.
  3. Students may need to be provided with individual accommodations while permanent accessibility strategies are being implemented.

Last update or review: December 01, 2010