UW-Madison and IT Accessibility: Promising Practices for IT Support

Date Updated

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of Information Technology incorporates "access for all" early in the development process for applications that include email, electronic surveys, electronic calendars, payroll, registration, and grade requests. The IT division has committed to ensuring that web applications and pages comply with their campus web accessibility policy and the Federal Rehabilitation Act Section 508 standards. In addition, the following practices are in place.

  1. Within the Division of Information Technology, there is a web accessibility team that includes representatives from various campus groups including members from the help desk, student applications, administration, project management, faculty, and the accessible technology division. This group meets regularly to discuss IT access issues and solutions.
  2. A "Web Doctor" position exists specifically to help review web pages or web applications for compliance with campus policy. The Web Doctor has expertise in accessibility issues and solutions and incorporates important information about tools that can be used by developers to test web applications as they are being built.
  3. A suite of assistive technology (AT) tools, such as a screen reader and text enlargement, exists on a laptop that can be checked out by developers to test their applications. In addition, the campus computer lab is evolving its’ AT license to one that is server based, allowing developers to download AT as needed to test their work.
  4. Project management is evolving to include uniform procedures for the Division of Information Technology. This includes a checklist for application development that lists compliance with the campus web accessibility policy.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison thus demonstrates how a central IT organization can incorporate accessibility considerations into their policies and practices.