• Cutting Edge

Web accessibility in higher ed not just ‘a checkbox’

On the Cutting EDge podcast, Terrill Thompson, the manager of the University of Washington’s IT Accessibility team, says that universities need to establish a culture that emphasizes the importance of web accessibility while they wait for stronger standards to arrive.

“I don’t consider [accessibility] an outcome. I consider it more of a process that we’re actively trying to build a culture of accessibility,” Thompson says. “People need to be considering accessibility and really thinking actively about it, and so a large part of what we do is try to build community.”

Thompson’s team has few staff, and he said it’s difficult to ensure every university web page adheres to accessibility recommendations — let alone any forthcoming standards. He says that’s why accessibility should be included in content development.

“It still is impossible when we’re talking about hundreds, or thousands or millions of web pages,” Thompson says. “Everybody needs to take ownership of that and the mentality can’t be that it’s a one-and-done. It’s not a checkbox.”

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Cutting Edge


Every two weeks, the Cutting EDge Podcast will bring you the latest in higher education technology news and analysis. The program will explore trending topics in depth and highlight news across the campus IT landscape. Each episode will feature conversations with top executives across higher education on things like hybrid learning, emerging technology, cybersecurity and modernization.

Hosted by Jake Williams

Jake Williams is the vice president of content and community for StateScoop & EdScoop at Scoop News Group. Williams has spent nearly a decade in the government IT market, covering the ins-and-outs of state and local government as well as higher education. Williams started his journalism career in regional journalism in his native Pennsylvania, and also worked as a reporter for Campaigns & Elections magazine.