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.”
Hear more from the higher education information technology community every two weeks on the Cutting EDge podcast. Listen here.