Students participate in ‘hands-on’ look at web accessibility

Purdue Calumet students Sammy Gonzales and James  Hunt are serving as student representatives with the Electronic & Information Technology Accessibility Strategic Committee (EITASC). Their focus is making all web information visitor-friendly and understandable to everyone.

Began at start of fall semester

In September, Gonzales and Hunt joined fellow Purdue Calumet students Iesha Lockett, Cassandra Klemme and Brian Boros to help ensure that the school’s sites are accessible and compliant. All five are experts in utilizing assistive technology, such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, and voice recognition software, and all are making major contributions, according to Pam Riesmeyer, web accessibility coordinator.

Updates on web

Sammy Gonzales
Sammy Gonzales

Gonzales, who identifies herself as, ‘deaf, but full of dreams’, is a Purdue Calumet junior, majoring in Visual Communication and Graphic Arts. An example of what she’s accomplished is reviewing captions and creating Web pages.

Gonzales’s  suggestions  to the committee  included font size, the background highlight and font colors. “Sometimes the video has the various colors that we couldn’t see the fonts very well.”

Hunt adds to the suggestion list

James Hunt is a first year graduate student at Purdue Calumet, studying Mental Health and Counseling. He has enjoyed his time on the committee. “This opportunity was presented to me by an Adaptive Technology specialist at Purdue Calumet,” he said. “I felt that this was a great opportunity to demonstrate and use the adaptive technology skills I have acquired to spread accessibility to those who would not otherwise have them. “The Electronic & Information Technology Accessibility Strategic Committee is in line with one of my life goals – bridging the gap between the ‘abled’ and ‘differently abled’(disabled) world”.

James Hunt
James Hunt

Hunt made many suggestions to the committee.  One was in regard to directions and maps published on the Purdue Calumet website. Dimensions should be given, he feels. “This is good for both the visually and non-visually impaired, so they can have an idea of the boundaries of the Purdue Calumet campus.”

Riesmeyer has worked diligently with the university departments to implement the suggested changes, the students added. For the most part, they have been very compliant.

As of Nov. 9, 77 percent of Purdue Calumet web pages are compliant with the Web Accessibility Policy, according to Riesmeyer. “ Our goal is 75 percent by March 15, 2013 and 100 percent by March 15, 2014.”