Web Accessibility: What does it mean to you? What does it mean to Purdue University Calumet?
We all want more visitors to our Web pages. We have information to share. We’re excited about our department’s new degree or new course. We’re proud of the honors and achievements of our faculty and staff and we want others to know about them. We want Purdue Calumet to be even more attractive to a wider population.
But we may be unwittingly blocking some people from getting that information. Not everyone who visits our sites gets there on a high speed Internet connection using a desktop computer. Some may view our Web pages on smart phones or tablets. Others may use assistive technology like screen readers, while others may rely on keyboard shortcuts because they’re unable to use the mouse.
Accessible Web sites or Web applications (like myPUC) are ones where any and all visitors have access to the information and educational opportunities which the site provides, regardless of any challenges the visitor may face — nothing more, nothing less.
Web Accessibility is NOT Hard
And making our sites accessible is surprisingly simple and easy to implement. For those of you who update Web pages, all it requires is incorporating a few new guidelines into the work you’re already doing. It also involves assuring that the documents you provide for downloading – such as PDFs and Microsoft Word documents – are accessible. And that the video and audio recordings are captioned and that transcripts are provided.
This is where we come in with advice about
that will help you understand what to do.
How This Works
We’re currently evaluating every Web page, downloadable document and online application that carries the Purdue Calumet brand, to make sure that each one meets the guidelines of the Web Accessibility Policy established by West Lafayette. By March, 2014, we were required to have 100% of those pages in compliance with the rules. But Web sites are ever changing and there is no “finish” line.
We are reaching out to the content editors and owners to explain this process. We start with “Accessibility Awareness” sessions, where we show you how someone who has problems hearing or seeing or moving a mouse, or who is colorblind, or who has other difficulties might perceive your site.
Then we provide you with training on ways to make the changes and adjustments to ensure that those visitors can enjoy what you have to offer. We show you what to look for on your Web pages, how to identify issues and how to correct the problems.
There’s an important bonus to all of this – what makes a Web site accessible to people with challenges also makes it easier to use for those without.