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GAAD 2022 and the new UW Accessible Technology website

Tomorrow, May 19, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD is an annual event designed to engage people around the world in talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion. Each year, the UW commemorates GAAD by offering a full day of lectures, workshops, and other activities related to digital accessibility. This year is no exception. See our GAAD 2022 page for a list of activities and a link to register.

Uniquely in 2022, we are embracing this opportunity to announce the launch of our freshly redesigned and reorganized Accessible Technology website! The site has been rebuilt in a months-long collaboration between UW-IT Accessible Technology Services and University Marketing and Communications, with input from dozens of people who participated in focus groups and provided feedback along the way. We especially appreciate members of the IT Accessibility Liaisons Network who volunteered their time to review the site in various stages of development. This is your website!

Screen shot of the redesigned UW Accessible Technology home page

Below is a summary of the highlights of the new website.

A redesigned home page

The home page has been redesigned with many goals:

  • To feature three sections of the site that are of particular importance: “Get started” with IT accessibility, “Get help,” and review various “Policy” and related pages.
  • To provide quick entry points into the six sections of the site that have historically been our most popular resources: The IT accessibility checklist and five sections related to the accessibility of specific technologies (websites, documents, videos, online courses, and online meetings).
  • To bring forward upcoming events in a calendar widget (more details about each event are still available on the Events page).
  • To bring forward the latest posts on the Accessible Technology blog, which we will be updating regularly.

A reorganized navigation menu

The navigation menu has been simplified. Previously the site had a vertical menu with 16 top-level links. The new site has only five items.

  • Home
  • Make Things Accessible: This is an entry point into all of the technical how-to pages.
  • Policy: This contains the UW policy and guidelines, plus supporting documents including our milestones, plans and a link to our Procurement page.
  • People: Contact information and descriptions of various groups involved in digital accessibility at the UW.
  • Get Involved: Links to our Events page and various other opportunities to participate in UW’s digital accessibility efforts.
  • Get Help: A landing page for quick contact information of accessibility experts within ATS and across our campuses.

Making it easier to report barriers

A sidebar is available on every page throughout the site with the heading “Experiencing inaccessible technology? Please let us know.” This includes multiple ways to report a digital access barrier, plus a link to the more general “Get Help” page.

IT accessibility checklist

The hub of our how-to pages is the IT accessibility checklist. Each item in the checklist includes a link to learn more about that item. For example, the first item in the checklist is “Do headings form an outline of page content?”, followed by a link to a Headings page. Many of the items in the checklist, including Headings, apply to multiple technologies. For example, Headings applies to websites, documents, and online courses. Each page linked from the checklist includes an overview of the issue as it applies to all relevant technologies, then links out to separate techniques pages related to specific technologies (e.g., Headings on websites, Headings in documents, Headings in Canvas).

There are other pathways that might lead to the separate techniques pages, so each of those pages includes a prominent link back to the overview checklist page for that topic.

Only the beginning

We have a long list of new content to add to the site and will continue to update existing content as technologies and accessibility best practices evolve. Meanwhile, please take some time to explore and check out the opportunities presented in the Get involved section of the site. We hope to see you soon at some of our upcoming events!