Skip to content Skip to navigation

ATHEN Quarterly Meeting 02-17-2021

February 17, 2021 ATHEN Meeting - Continuation of discussion that happened in January Quarterly meeting

Recap of our talk:

Whether you trust or respond of the person that responds to a list message asking for information about XYZ product:

  • discussion around competency and qualifications to test a product or application.
  • discussion around whether the response goes directly to the individual and not the whole list, the idea that a lot of times if people do respond to the whole list it's very general information and not a lot of specifics around the accessibility of a product.

Performing accessibility testing yourself:

  • discussed tools that are commonly used
  • how you do test the products often depends on how much the product is going to be used on your campus or who the population is for using that product.
    • this often determines how deep or extensive your testing is.
  • everyone came to a consensus that we don't use screen readers alone and there are other ways to test a product without relying on a screen reader
  • requirements for vendors to have third-party reviews as a part of their RFP or proposal for the university
  • third parties paying for review of software

Ideal: Testing, Procurement, VPATs, Accessibility of Software

  • One location to get (accurate and updated) information
    •  A repository of accessibility evaluation findings
  • Sharing of information so people don’t need to re-create the wheel or re-do efforts
  • Pressure the vendors to make improvements with a unified approach (i.e. many people telling them the same things)
    • EDUCAUSE has tried to do this, success is maybe more miss than hit
    • A high level goal is to put pressure on vendors to improve accessibility. If all of higher ed bands together, we have tremendous leverage.
  • Vendors don’t rely on HE to get free labor; they have people internally to do this
    • Higher Ed would then verify but not do the actual work
  • Vendors do their homework and figure out what accessibility really is and not rely on us to educate them
    • Where would vendors go for this training??
  • Don’t need additional personnel to figure out if something is accessible or not
  • Stronger laws that require accessibility
  • Procurement workflows exist at each institution that prioritize accessibility the way that security is prioritized
  • Figure out some way to still use industry-specific software that is inaccessible in order to keep open business lines at the school (i.e. saying “no” to a certain tech could limit the business interests of that school) that doesn’t take away the need to make that software accessible
    • Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAAP) process for “when we can’t say no” to inaccessible software
      • Who manages EEAAP? Who pays for EEAAP? Is the accommodation equal? Who signs off on this?
  • Ensure that accessibility and innovation don’t conflict
  • Integrate accessibility into the RFP process
    • Get vendors to compete with each other over accessibility
    • One include accessibility language in all our contracts.