Sorry, you can't use this
Terrill Thompson: And thanks, everybody for for coming. This is as the title slide suggests, "Sorry, you can't use this", which is a reference to IT accessibility. So hopefully you all are in the right place that we are going to be talking about technology accessibility in this session for students with disabilities. And I was a little nervous, I saw the the first
schedule that I saw just have the title of the session, not our description of the session, and I was a little nervous that people would just have the title and would have no idea what her session was about. But hopefully, you all did see a description, so there won't be any surprises here. But anyway, Dan Condem and I are with the University of Washington, we're with UW IT, which is the central computing organization. And within that, with that, in that unit, there is a department called Accessible Technology Services. Dan is going to be
talking more about sort of how the university handles it accessibility and our role within that. But the short version is we are responsible for university technology and ensuring that that's accessible to all users. And so that obviously can't do all that alone. And so a lot of the work we do is just serving a consulting, role educating developing resources, and that sort of thing, trying to bring our campus up to speed on technology accessibility. So the website that we use to communicate to our campus about such things is uw.edu, slash accessibility. And that can
serve as a really good resource for folks outside of the University of Washington as well. So what does technology accessibility mean? What is this all about? This is, we have a slide here that kind of presents technology diversity, which is really what it's all about that kind of the old school model is that you've got computing, you've got digital information, people need access to that digital information. And they can access that with a monitor for output. And with keyboard and a mouse for input. That's sort of the old school model. This is how things you know, we're back in the early days.
Originally, it was it was keyboard only, and then the mouse came a little bit later. But what we see here on the slide is a bit more contemporary, that it's not that simple, that there are lots of different ways people access information, including smartphones, tablets, various shapes, sizes and platforms of those, you got people who access information not through that through visual output, but through audio output. So you get a headphones to represent that. You have people who are blind, for example, using a screen reader to listen to content, you got people who are physically unable to use a keyboard or a mouse, and therefore they've got some other means of providing input. One example of that is speech input, that represented by the microphone headset, people can speak with verbal commands and access all things on the computer that way. And again, people who interact with touch both input and output, the the item in the bottom center is a refreshable Braille device. It's got Braille buttons across
the top that people can use to type for input. And then you get a row of dots that refresh with Braille. And those user can then explore with that row of dots. And so lots of different ways, I just ran out of slide space. So there was I could go on and on about the different ways that people interact with technology. So technology, accessibility really is all about the technology that we're delivering and thinking about the diverse ways that people interact with technology. And, and we want to
make sure that regardless of the device they're using or the configuration they're using, they can they can fully participate, they can access the information, and they can get both input and output, they can fully engage in the content that we're providing. Unknown: So we're talking about disability in a sense, but that's kind of a false dichotomy. It's not as simple as people with disabilities, people without that, depending on what the the function is that you're talking about. Some people are very able to do that. have outstanding abilities to do that, some people are not able to do that. And most people fall
somewhere in between. So often we're talking about vision. But that's just one one variable, that some people have 2020 vision. So they're on the far right end of the spectrum. And some people are not able to see at all, they're on the far left end of the spectrum, but most people fall somewhere in between. And it's a really broad distribution of abilities. Some of us have eyeglasses, like myself, which is an assistive technology that helps improve the person moves them a little bit further to the right. Whereas otherwise, it'd be a little bit further to the left, I actually would be pretty far left on the not able end of the spectrum, if I didn't have this assistive technology that I wear. You can measure the same
your people who are able to hear people's ability to walk people's ability to read print, to write with pen or pencil to communicate verbally, to tune out and distraction, and on and on and on. And on lots of different functions that we're asking people to perform when we provide them with digital experiences. Some people are able to do those things fully have outstanding abilities on that function. And some people are not able through no fault of their own. And our goal is to ensure that even they can fully participate in whatever it is that we're offering. So we're talking about technologies, this is a session about technology accessibility. So we'll be
talking about websites. And there used to be sort of digital documents that exist on the web. But anymore, it's much more rich than that. Lots of complex interactive web applications. So
that when I say websites, I'm referring to all of those things. As well as digital documents, things like PDFs, and Word documents, and videos, and vendor products, which encompasses a full range of the software and web applications and other things. So those are just some examples of technologies that we're using to deliver education. We want to
make sure that those are all fully accessible to anybody who needs to engage with them. But we also talking about people. And so it's often, you know, in these conversations about accessibility, we started talking about standards and getting really technical about you know, how to code something. And it's easy to lose sight of the fact that what we're really talking about here is people. And so I just wanted to take a few moments to introduce some of the people that we have had the pleasure of interacting with over the years. Jennifer,
Courtney, Conrad, Ana, and Anna. Jennifer, I'm showing here is a last I knew was a communication major. And she is very, very bright and has very pleasant personality communications is a perfect choice for her. I'm very active in disability rights
organizations and you know, have engaged with her community. And she has limited upper body mobility, and is shown here holding a stick in her right hand. And she has an Intel keys keyboard, which is a larger keyboard has larger keys than a typical keyboard and she has enough dexterity to be able to use that stick to hit those larger keys. And so this is her
mode of operating is using a keyboard only. So she's not able to use a mouse or a trackball, but is using, you know the stick and keyboard. And so we talk a lot about keyboard accessibility, you know, everything should be accessible with keyboard using the tab key or whatever other keys make sense. And so that's, you know, a big issue for Jennifer. This is Courtney. She is has a bachelor's degree in
communications. He's also communication person and is very active networks for Rooted in Rights, which is a program that creates media centered around disability rights and disability access. And she uses a screen reader. So she has has no sight and so she listens to some content. And she's gotta have some headphones there. So she's listening in but also has a refreshable Braille device. So her fingers are positioned on the row of dots there and she can explore things in Braille.
So not all blind people read Braille, but those that do, I find often do switch back and forth between listening to count If they have hearing, and, and feeling content with Braille, that those two modes of perceiving content have various advantages depending on the nature of the content. And so so you get a lot of sort of switching back and forth. Um, here's currently again, but this time she's sharing with her friend Conrad Conrad, got a law degree from the University of Washington and is now a prominent civil rights attorney and in Seattle, has a number of awards and accolades related to his pursuit of that law degree over the year, also an avid Seahawks fan, you can see by the shirts that he's wearing there. But he's not he has very limited upper body mobility. And so his primary means of interacting with the computer is speech. And so he's doing everything by voice. He also uses some other
assistive technologies, but not a keyboard and not a mouse. And so, you know, how, how accessible are the technologies that you're using to Courtney and Conrad? This is Hannah. She also has a visual impairment, and she's using magnification. So she does have some eyesight, and she's has everything in large tear, she's looking at code, and in fact, did end up in computer science with a minor in physics and math, she won all sorts of academic awards and get an internship at Facebook and now is working as developer at Facebook. But she needs
everything to be blown up. And that means that there are portions of things that are happening on the screen that she's not able to see at any given moment. And that can have an impact on the accessibility of what she's trying to access. This is Anna, she uses eye gaze technology, and is a PhD candidate at Georgia Tech, studying math and computation.
She's done an incredible amount of stuff with eye gaze, and has mostly figured that out on her own, she sort of carved out her own path and made her own accessibility, because so much of what she was encountering was not accessible to her. But there's, we actually have a video on our website and do it at a uw. edu slash do it slash webinars, you can see a full presentation of her talking about her method for interacting with the computer, it's really pretty fascinating. She actually
does a live demo of using eye gaze input for computer programming. So so those are the people, you know, as we think about those, just just that small group of people really there, you know, we could go on and on and on hundreds 1000s of people who access information in very different ways than what you do. And I probably interact with technology in very different ways than what you do. We all have differences in our configurations or settings or preferences, the platform, the device that we're using, and so forth, in our experience, therefore is very different from one another. So but if we think about that, think about that diversity, and then turn our attention to the technologies. The question is, are these
technologies accessible to all of these people with all of these diverse means of interacting? And so websites, it was a tech to make a website accessible? Here is the conference website. So I'm not going to tell you necessarily whether this is accessible. But the question is, what do you need to look at? To to answer that question? A common thing is images. And we've got a Read Across the top three logos of you know, the sort of the sponsor organizations, I guess. And the question associated with images is, is there alternate text, some of you can't see the images do they get that information that they're using a screen reader that listening to content or their accent content through through Braille. Also, equally important for screen reader users is headers that I see. Probably the main heading here
is 2021 virtual conference program, big and bold right in the center of the page. That should be a heading level one. And then further down. If we scroll down the page, there are clear visible section headings that should be heading level two. And that forms an outline of the page that allows a person who's using a screen reader to understand how this page is organized and structured. And they can also jump from heading
to heading to heading with for example, the H key in their their assistive technology. There's also a lot of other stuff here about filtering sessions by type and track, you've got all of those different tags that you can use to search, you've got the ability to search sessions. And so yeah, that's always a question. You know, if if somebody searches, and then the results on the page change, do they know that something has changed if they can't see it? Or if they are like Hannah, and have everything enlarged, and so the changes have happened somewhere else on the page? Are they notified that something has changed? These are all the sorts of questions that we need to ask, as we're evaluating websites to make sure that they're accessible. We also have accessible documents and websites actually fall into this category, those that are just sort of digital, you know, HTML versions of documents, but documents, obviously, coming in a variety of format. So HTML is one PDF, word, any anything that you would consider a document, regardless of what the format is, it has the same issues. And what we're looking at here is an
introduction to physics course syllabus, and so it has all the things that you would expect to find in the syllabus. For example, of course objectives, the weekly schedule with reading assignments and and your information about how your grades are calculated. And if you're puzzled by this, those of you with eyesight as you're sort of looking at this scratching your head, then again, I can't make much sense of this. It's
not organized very well, if I were to ask you a simple question, like how many course objectives are there, it would take a lot of effort for you to figure that out. And something that simple should not require a lot of effort. This is an introduction to physics course. And so it's going to get a lot more complicated than just the syllabus. And if the syllabus is this hard, imagine how difficult everything else is going to be.
So if we add structure to this document, this is what it could look like, where you have exactly the same content. These are two, two identical pieces of information. But this one has structure. So we have a clear heading main heading, Introduction to physics for some of us. And we have clear subheadings textbook, course objectives, class schedule, and grades that are all equal levels, I can tell that because they're all the same size, and they're all the same position on the page. And they're all bigger and bolder than surrounding
text. But those are all visual cues. I also have a list of three objectives. So there I can answer that question just at a glance and see those three bullets. And I have tables to
organize the other information with columns and rows and clear heading column headings above those columns. So again, a lot of this is visual information. And the key to accessibility, a key to accessibility is ensuring that you're actually using the right components to create this. So it's not just big, bold text, but it's actually headings, headings, that are using an HTML terms, h1 or h2. And those same concepts, the same tags exist in other platforms to PDF as an underlying tag structure that's very similar to HTML. But a lot of PDFs are created without any awareness of that, which is a problem. Same with Microsoft
Word, Microsoft Word has heading styles heading one style, heading two style. And those need to be used in order to communicate this structure. So if you don't have the structure in place for a non visual user, then this is the experience. It's just a bunch of text, technically, maybe it's sort of accessible, but they're gonna have to really do a lot of extra cognitive work to parse this text and try to figure out what exactly all of these words mean together. So structure is a really key part of accessible documents, accessible video, we think a lot about captions, that when you've got content that's presented with audio, then that audio needs to be accessible to people who can't hear it. And so captions are critical for that
purpose. But also people who can't see again, are affected by video where it's just visual information that has no sort of narration. So this is a video of under an underwater volcanic eruption, which is captured for the first time by University of Washington scientists. And I actually don't don't recall how much audio is in this but I think a lot of it is just just visual. And if somebody is a non visual person and they're accessing this video, what do they get out of that? What What is an underwater volcano like What can they learn from watching this video, even if they can't see it. So that's where audio description is a an accommodation that needs to happen in order to make video accessible. Also the player
itself. Imagine Conrad who's not using a mouse, you can't hover over the play button, click, or anybody who is not a master user, and there are lots of people who fall into that category. You know, if they press tab, do they land on that play button? And then if they press Enter or space, are they able to trigger that play button? And can they access all the other controls? So the accessibility of the media player comes into play as well with accessible video with vendor products? Here's a screenshot of zoom. But we're
actually using zoom now. And so you all can actually try this. Just don't touch your mouse and try accessing some of the features. Can you tab around the interface? And can you tell where you are? And can you access the various features? The answer with zoom actually is yes, I will share that that when we started using zoom many years ago, it was not accessible at all, for keyboard users, for screenreader users, the buttons were not labeled well for screen reader users. But we began a
years long collaboration with them that exists still today, where, you know, we sit down once a month, and we you know, exchange information, exchange information by email about how to improve their product for all users. And they have been very receptive to that. So some vendors are receptive to that. But we always have to ask the question, is this tool that we're wanting to use? Is it usable by everybody? Or are we going to tell some some individuals? Sorry, you can't use this because of some physical characteristic that you have, which obviously, we're not allowed to say. And it's not I think most of us would agree, that's not what we want to say. But that means that we're going to have to do a little bit extra diligence to really understand the technologies that we're using, and ask, Is this accessible to everybody? Or are there some groups are going to be excluded? And if there are, what can we do about that? So I'm going to stop here and hand off to Dan, to take over talking about lots of things, starting with the legal amplification implications of accessibility. And I'm happy actually, while we're pausing or transition, if there are any questions that apply to what I've just said.
I'm happy to take those Otherwise, we'll hand off to Dan. There's nothing in the chat. Dan Condem: Nothing in the chat. All right. Is my presentation appearing? Okay. My getting the slider? Am I getting the
preview? I've got we see Unknown: the slide but also the list of participants? Oh, well, let's get rid of that. Yeah, there. Yeah. That's better, we still actually received the zoom bar across the top, Oh, God, I have that setting turned out because of the work that we do with zoom. We, we often get involved with needing to do screen shares, actually with zoom staff. And so that is
a feature that you can turn on in zoom, where you can actually transmit the meeting controls and zoom settings, which is off by default. One of the things that we've done is discovered some some useful shortcuts for zoom. It's actually on our website that Terrell talked about. The The best thing to do
for zoom to make it in my opinion, the most usable is to turn on a setting within zoom that keeps the meeting controls constantly visible at the bottom of the main zoom presentation screen. So there's a there's a little helpful. Thursday morning hit for everybody. Good morning, Moderator: Weiwei Zhang: Terrill. I'm sorry to interrupt you. As we're talking there was a question came in. So I don't
know if I'll address it now or wait for later. Unknown: A week. I'm gonna let Terrell filter those in and he can interrupt as as we go. And it's a question about the question is what professional training Do you know up to help train accessible specialists for schools? And I would say let's wait on them because that may be something that I'm talking about. Well, that yeah, that could actually be a topic for an entire presentation. In my opinion. I will say that I've
been involved with accessibility in higher education. Going back to the 1980s. I started in this field when I was a University student at a small state university in California. And a lot of my training has been on the job and learning things over the years.
So there's another new question, Dan about the slides. And this is actually a question for the moderator, I, we, we are happy to share the slides. But what is the preferred means for us doing that. And if you can send a slide to me, I'm happy to share it out.
For the recording, yes, we'll ship it out once the conference is over, but it may take some time because of the large numbers of recordings were dealing with. So, okay, Terrill Thompson: one way or another, we will get the slides out, we'll Unknown: get this slide, the slides are out. And again, I would refer people to our website uw.edu, slash accessibility, we'll have a lot of the content that we talked about today. So I'm going to start off with legal stuff, which, in my opinion, is is some of the the less interesting parts of our job. But less interesting does not mean less
important. It's actually pretty important stuff. So the accessibility goes back many, many years. And I think about when I first started as a as a student employee in a Disability Service Office, translating print material to audio material, of course, the technology in 1982 was a little different than it is today. But the concepts are really haven't changed that much. But it's all based on legislation that was that was initially produced in 1973, section 504. Certainly the ADA, which was signed in 1990. And the following amendments are
also applicable, we hear a lot about that. Essentially, it's civil rights. It's it's civil rights laws. In in, you know, I try to approach things from the viewpoint of doing the right thing, from an ethical basis, also from just who's going to who's going to get the most benefit from from our efforts in education, but we do have some legal standing behind what we do. We also in Washington state have a state policy for any any state organization, it's called policy 188. And that talks about the the responsibilities and requirements for for state institutions to to be accessible with their with their it offerings, and that actually is an IT specific policy. We don't
really want to go into a lot of detail about that we can't later, but we'll leave the legal the legal details for the legal folks. So when we talk about accessibility, we need to have sort of a shared point to work from. And certainly we need to define what accessible means. The Office for Civil Rights has made this very clear, in in a number of instances dealing with accessibility complaints at different higher education institutions. I don't typically read from a slide but I will for this one accessible means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability. And then we've got this part
highlighted in an equally effective and equally integrated manner was substantially equivalent ease of use. That is very, very important and actually drives a lot of the accessibility work that we do as a team at the University of Washington. The to wrap this up, the person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully equally and independently as a person without a disability. And that's language that we've seen in in various interactions that the OCR Office for Civil Rights or the Department of Justice has had with different institutions. And on the screen now is just a partial list of various higher education institutions that have had complaints have had the OCR get involved, or the Department of Justice. University of Cincinnati, Louisiana Tech, UC Berkeley, Florida State, Penn State University, or the Ohio State University, and the list goes on and on. And again, all
of this stuff is at our website. So This, this can happen anywhere where there is a complaint. And I will say having talked to people from some of these other institutions where these complaints where these resolutions have gone into effect, it can have a huge impact on that institution, financially and workload wise, because the timelines that are implemented are extremely short and requires a lot of resources to address accessibility shortcomings. So a lot of the work that we do is based on the
worldwide web consortiums worldwide web or the WCC actually has all the standards for everything that we do online has the standards for HTML also has what we call with CAG, or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. We're currently on version 2.1. And that is the basis for a lot of the the accessibility policy that is currently out. Again, this this has been around for a long, long time, a lot of folks don't know about it or know very much about it, but it does go back to the very early days of the web, going back to 1998. What's important about what CAG without going into a lot of the details is that there are three levels of success criteria, a double A and triple A, and most of the policies and standards that we work with are at the to a level, which means that there are 50 different success criteria for accessibility. So how do we do
it at the University of Washington, we have a multi pronged approach. Overall, we have an ADA compliance officer, that is part of the Office of Compliance that would be one of the places where complaints might potentially go. for accommodations. We have the DRS office Disability Resources for students. They deal with anything that student related as
far as accommodations, so that includes remediating any inaccessible academic materials, dealing with requests for extra time for examinations, and relocating classrooms due to physical accessibility issues. We also have a disability services office that essentially deals with everything else. So anybody who is not a student, so that's faculty, staff, visitors, non matriculated students are all assisted by the DSO. And
finally, there's our group, Terrell leads our team of accessibility experts, of which I think we're up to eight or eight ft E's, something like that, Darrell, you can correct me if I'm wrong. But we've got a pretty comprehensive team, we've everybody sort of takes different areas of expertise. So we've got one person that deals with document accessibility. We've got another person that deals primarily with internal University websites, we have a person who is who all he does is work with vendors and developers. So for for websites and any applications that the university acquires. So that
includes things like the tool we're using right now, which is zoom. Going back to brag a little bit about zoom. And as Tara mentioned, when it was initially procured for the university, it was it was terrible. With respect to accessibility, it was unusable by most people with with a variety of different disabilities. Very quickly, that
company responded to us reaching out and addressing accessibility problems and shortcomings with the application. To this day, it's pretty accessible. I won't say 100%. But it's pretty good. So we've got all these products, and we're presented with new products. It seems like every day, there's been a recent New
York Times magazine article, talking about a variety of different online things and certainly with the covid 19 pandemic. We have we like it or not been thrust into this arena of doing everything online and doing everything virtually doing everything remotely. And there's been lots of uptake of different applications at different levels of accessibility and I will say that a lot of the times the the products Really are not very good when it comes to being accessible. So in that article, there's a number of different products that are mentioned. Certainly zoom, there's one called gather town kuhmo, space Pluto hoppin and run the world. And so there's questions that we
need to ask whenever we're presented with new software in the higher education setting, right? We all use these tools or tools like them in our everyday work, and we need to ask some questions about those like, are these things accessible or not? How do we know that they're accessible? And then finally, if they aren't, what are we going to do about it? And there's a variety of answers we've got, we've proposed three, certainly, we want to ask the vendors before we make a purchase about the accessibility of their product. But we also want to make sure that we don't completely trust everything that they have to say about their own products. So we need to validate the accessibility information that they do provide. And then
when we move further into the purchasing process, we want to make sure that the contract addresses existing and future accessibility issues. I will say, you know, having worked with a product like Canvas, which I think we're we're probably all aware of what Canvas is and how it works. Canvas has gone through a number of iterations, since it was first implemented at the University of Washington, probably at your own campuses with with regard to accessibility. So there's been times where it was fairly accessible. There's been times where it wasn't very accessible
at all. And part of that has to do with how a product like Canvas, not Canvas specifically, but a lots of different products are developed. And many of these things. Many of these applications are not just written once and produced and sold. And that's what you get for a year until there's an update, some of these products like Canvas are updated much more frequently. In fact, on on a three week or four week cycle,
it's possible to see updates. And if the company is not including accessibility as part of their design, development and quality assurance process. It's not at all unusual for accessibility to be broken with these various updates. So when we solicit accessibility information, there's some questions that we can ask again, we've got some checklists for these sorts of questions on our website. To ask some very
pointed questions. We want specific answers in their documentations. We want to see what their vpat is. And the vpat. Or the voluntary product accessibility template is actually, as come out from the section 508 accessibility efforts. Section 508 does not apply to us directly us University of Washington. I know that in some states, section 508 is used as an accessibility standard. But section 508 really
is geared more towards federal agencies. So the V Pat was developed to help answer questions about accessibility. The pads have gotten better if we want to make sure that any v Pat is using the most current version. and not the not the old standards. But the new ones. What we would really like to see is an external evaluation for vpat, done by some agency outside of the company. And then we want to make sure that what they've said actually is true. It is just a starting point. For
an for a conversation about accessibility. It gives us clues about whether or not the vendor understands accessibility concepts and design criteria. We want to ask follow up questions, we want them to demonstrate accessibility. So Terrell provided a number of examples where using a mouse is difficult or impossible for some users, all this stuff should be usable without a mouse. So keyboard accessibility keyboard functionality is very important. And then ultimately, what we would like to see is more institutions have the capacity to do this sort of evaluation in house with at least one person.
So we want to we want to get this stuff into our contracts. We've begun including that at the University of Washington, we've got an IT accessibility writer, we want to get a prioritized list. Some of the items that we might identify with proposed new product are have issues that we call showstoppers, which means there is some important functionality that isn't possible for some people with with disabilities to accomplish. And we want those showstoppers to be prioritized first, and we would like them to be addressed before the product gets deployed. And then of course, we want to include some
language in the contract that addresses future versions of what we're what we're asking for. So what Terrell, I would like to encourage everybody, here today to do is to push all of these vendors that we're working with, for accessibility, we need accessible products week, we can't do the work, we end up spending 1000s of hours a year as a team working with outside companies to improve the accessibility of products and these companies should be doing it, they should be doing it from this from the start. They should be incorporating accessibility concepts within within their products. And they're just not going to do it unless we insist on it. And we insist that it's important. And you can frame it as an ethical, it's a right thing to do issue. You can frame it as we have to do this from a
legal standpoint, you can frame it as a risk management issue. But we we encourage everybody to ask these questions of these vendors. And even if you're not in that role, there's no reason why you can't ask that question when a new product appears or a new product. Seems like it might be coming just to ask, what is this accessible? What is the testing that's been done? What are the products? What are the assistive technology products that have been used as part of the test? testing process? Then the validation process? How do we make sure that this product is accessible? I'm going to say something that I didn't clear this with Terrell first. He can chime in, but I will say that we have I have never seen a product that is completely accessible that the university has deployed in my time at the University of Washington and other institutions. It's if a vendor
says we are accessible, you need to immediately take that with a grain of salt. Maybe even a bucket not just a grain? Because it is I have never seen a product that was accessible right out of the box that we have deployed. Terrell, do you want to? Do you want to respond to that? Yep, just add the word fully to that, that accessible again, the early in the in my slide deck, I mentioned that it disability is not a binary thing. It's not people with disabilities people without same is true of products. It's not accessible,
not accessible. But there are various degrees. And, you know, thinking back to that, that particular slide, where it was a continuum of able and not able, the same is true with respect to measuring accessibility, that you've got all those look at success criteria. And whether a product passes or fails depends on which measure you're talking about. So some may do really
well at 75% of the look at success criteria, but then fail at the other 25% and that, you know, from our perspective that we love 100% we, as Dan said, we never see that. But we the big question then is, how critical are those 25% or even if it's less, you know, if it's 95% accessible, but there are 5% of the issues are not accessible, then the question is how critical are those 5%? Is that gonna prevent certain groups of users from completing the intended functions of the of the tool and that really needs it's beyond the checkpoint, which is why the vpat is you know, only a conversation starter that we really need to understand. What exactly are the limitations Have this product and how what sort of impact are they going to have? Absolutely. Yeah. And what what are the what are the things that we really are pushing for is to put the burden of accessibility should not be the responsibility of the Disability Service Office, it really should not be that is the Disability Service offices at our different campuses have a lot of skills, they are highly capable within their area, but to ask them to be also be experts on it accessibility, I think is is too big of an ask. It really is fundamentally an IT issue. And that is where the responsibility should lie. For, for having an accessible conversation. What the DS office can provide as
input on what might be required for accommodations, if if a product is deployed, and there are known issues, they can help with determining what the accommodations might be in using that product and deploying that product. But they should not be responsible for doing the validation and testing. Now, I know at smaller schools that that that's a very different conversation that may be at a large institution like the University of Washington, but I still would maintain that it is ultimately it's an IT purchase, it needs to live within it. So there is some conversation and in chat, Dan Lin from Oregon State initially asked whether anyone's using Blackboard Ally in their LMS. And how effective you have found it in
particularly in particular, the institutional reports and autogenerated accessible file formats. A few people did chime in with their experiences, we can certainly share ours as we already using ally. And I particularly hone in on the institutional reports. And what that tells us about faculty usage, I think the the alternate format. And actually for those who are not familiar, this is a a plug in for learning management systems developed by Well, it's developed independently the blackboard acquired it developed at UC Berkeley initially, but it is a blackboard product called ally. But it works in other LMS as well, we use it in Canvas. And
it when instructors upload content, it does a couple of things, it performs an accessibility analysis of that content, and then provides feedback to instructors. But it also converts that content to various alternative formats that students can then download. Um, and with the conversion it is garbage in garbage out that any automated conversion is, you know, only going to work so well that, you know, if you if you upload a scanned document that was scanned, you know, really horribly, then it's not gonna be able to do much with that. But but it is widely used and increasing in use. So we're just
getting out among students that that's available. And and we've received really positive feedback about it does nice to have that flexibility and then option, you know, if you're presented with something in a format that's not accessible, maybe you can try one of the others on the fly without having to go to the IRS to get the document converted. So just that immediacy is a nice feature. But since we've spent a lot of time
trying to educate people, it the the hope was that this would be a means of reaching, all instructors are using Canvas. Whereas otherwise faculty have been kind of a tough audience to crack into. I feel like we have reached staff at a higher level and even administrators to a certain extent. But the faculty are not that tends to they're very busy people they tend to not be the people that are coming to our internal trainings and, you know, meetups and so forth. So how do we get an audience with them? Well, this is actually provided that it does educate them with ally cons, you know, next to all of their materials rating, the accessibility of the things that they've uploaded, and that has sparked enough curiosity that they have. We the institutional reports show that they have actually engaged with those icons and have learned that something about accessibility and have uploaded accessible materials so they followed the instructions that the wizard provided, and have improved excessively has improved As a result of this, and so that probably the biggest benefit, from my perspective anyway, is that we are able to track over time that this is getting used more frequently. And that it is
resulting in more accessible content, we still have a long way to go before everybody's using it and all of our content is accessible. But we see, over the couple years that we've had this in place, we do see improvement over time. And I think it's really helpful to be able to document that as a risk management thing to say, you know, we've got this this proof that we are improving in our accessibility. So there's another question from Pat, if a vendor fails to live up to the claims and their vpat. What sanctions and it's we're getting
more chats and some losing it. There it is, what sanctions do you see as the most practical and useful to encourage compliance? gonna weigh in on that, then? Yeah, I typed a response. I think we're out of time. So moderator if we need to end now, for the next session, please. do
have a few more minutes if you want to keep going. Okay, I know, I know that there's some turnover in these rooms. We don't expect a vpat to be accurate, to be honest, or at least I don't. It's, as we mentioned earlier, it's a starting point for a conversation it does, there's no room in a V path for any sort of sanction or anything like that.
That is that is that kind of thing needs to happen in a contract prior to prior to a purchase. And so we have, we have done contracts with vendors that have done things like reduce the amount that we pay for, if they fail to meet milestones for fixing accessibility problems. That's a very effective means to get them to take accessibility. Seriously. What we've found with some vendors is they're very excited to work with us to improve the accessibility of their product because they understand that it improves the marketability of their product. Our institutions are risk averse, and would prefer to purchase and deploy products that are accessible. And so being willing to work with a
vendor to address accessibility issues can make that more attractive, and you can insert some language into the contract to address those things. So I think we need to wrap up for the next session. I'd love to talk about this stuff more. We can continue the conversation we're easy to find on email. And then I'll also pay attention to discord for the rest of the day.
If people want to engage their