Roadmap

Born Accessible Logo

Introduction

The Digital Access Roadmap proposes measurable outcomes for campuswide adoption of Universal Design as the institutional framework for digital content development and compliance with digital accessibility requirements by following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (WCAG 2.0 AA).

At Iowa State University, we are committed to promoting a “born accessible” mindset that integrates accessibility in the development of digital content.  Leading this effort, the Office of Digital Access (ODA) provides guidance, support and consultation to campus stakeholders.  The Digital Access Roadmap 2.0 is the first revision of the roadmap that was first published in 2016.  It confirms the institutional commitment to campuswide collaboration and the establishment of institutional best practices for digital accessibility.  The Roadmap 2.0 corroborates our vision and updates proposed outcomes, activities, timelines, and roles university community members have in providing digital access for all.  This year, the ODA has optimized its offering of tools, resources, training, and support. 

Legal Aspects

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, as well as the Iowa Civil Rights Act, require equality for persons with disabilities.  In January 18, 2018, the United States Access Board published a new rule to update requirements for technical specifications related to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.  Iowa State University adopted WCAG 2.0 AA as the standards that encompass those published in the new 508 rule, act as the “de facto” standards cited in relevant legal precedent, and provide effective reference for a wide variety of situations (stakeholders, types of content, etc.).

University Community Stakeholders

Developers

In-depth assessments conducted throughout the past year resulted in identification of finer distinctions between various faculty and staff roles.  That is, we obtained evidence of different sets of needs among web developers (hard coders, content management developers, and others), content editors (content management systems’ managers and editors), learning management systems’ developers, instructional content creators/editors, vendors, and others.  The differences between these are a result of factors such as type of content, audience/end users, level of expertise, and others.  The ODA, through its various educational efforts, strives to address these needs and customizes training for a variety of learners.

End Users

Students are end users of most of our digital content and systems.  Many of our solutions are also used by employees and staff. 

Enrollment in the fall of 2016 was 36,660, the largest in history.  Since national demographic trends point at an increase in population segments that could require digital content to be accessible in various formats and degrees, digital accessibility initiatives remain critical to our institution’s day-to-day.  Such concern is also corroborated in the institutional strategic plan. 

Among students, requests for accommodations at ISU have more than doubled in the last 10 years.  This trend is predicted to continue.  Furthermore, our international enrollment (11%), points at the need to also create digital content that addresses the needs of second language learners.

Along with the trends in student population, we have growing numbers of staff and faculty whose digital content use requires digital accessibility as integral to the solutions they use on a daily basis.

Plan of Operation

Outcomes

Activities

Assessment

Continue to increase campuswide awareness about Digital Accessibility (DA)

Promotional and educational events and activities

Dissemination of “Born Accessible” vision

Annual Report of Activities (including supporting documentation of need, fit and results)

Increased campuswide understanding and adoption of born-accessible methods and WCAG 2.0 Level AA Standards

Education events and activities

Dissemination and updates of guidelines and educational materials and events

At least three development teams integrating accessibility in their development as documented by the Office of Digital Access.

Increased understanding of DA legal requirements

Education and training activities and events

At least one event per semester

Increased DA reviews and remediation of legacy content

Education

Reviews

At least ten (10) reviews and corresponding remediation plans as documented by Office of Digital Access

Growing membership in digital access community

Sustained periodic communication and interaction

Data on active member list, activities

Continuous updates in institutional best practices

Testing/vetting

Continuously updated Website

Website updates and traffic data

DA policy

Policy adoption

All of the above

Development

All educational events and many one-on-one visits and consultations throughout the past year have included information and guidance about the need for digital content that is “born accessible.”

Remediation

An inventory of IASTATE domain websites has been created.  During a second phase, more detailed information will be gathered to aid in the process of identifying needs in training, auditing or remediating content.  During a third phase the ODA will share audits and remediation measures for prioritized university-sanctioned websites.  Additional efforts for remediation and corresponding accommodations will ensue.

Monitoring

DA, and the WAC, will continue to provide guidance, training and consultation to create unit-level plans to address monitoring efforts.

Partnership with web development teams has aided in identifying viable testing and development solutions.  A project to better inform web development workflows is ongoing.

Procurement

Major procurement processes, such as the request for proposal for a learning management system, have included digital accessibility requirements.  Procurement processes at the regents’ institutions level have also been informed by ISU’s ODA.  Moreover, the ODA has established ongoing partnerships intended to increase accessibility in existing vendor-provided solutions.

Toward an Institutional Case of Best Practices

In a year, we have jumpstarted the move to a culture of digital content that is “born accessible.”  The ODA has held numerous events and has tended to a high number of requests for consultation, including efforts at the Regents’, state, national, and global level.

Digital Access Activities

The ODA will continue to operate guided by the following major activities:

  • Assess Needs, Raise Awareness & Educate
  • Plan, Develop, Implement
  • Monitor, Assess, Provide Recommendations