Our Web Accessibility Partner of the Week is John Talaga, Enterprise Systems Server Administrator! John is a member of the hard working team responsible for keeping the servers on which our Web sites and applications are hosted, humming.
Accessibility from the Start
John was assigned a project recently, to activate an online application for a department, hoping to make life easier for students and for staff in filling out forms. He contacted us right away, asking that we check the application to see if it met our Web Accessibility Policy Guidelines.
We evaluated the site and quickly found that it fell far short of our guidelines.
John got in touch with the company that sold Purdue University Calumet the software, and brought us into the conversation. His contacts there assured us that an accessible version was available. They worked with John to set up that version to test. We evaluated this version of the application and it looks as if it’s going to work out well for everyone involved – the department which requested the application, the students and staff members who will be using it, whether or not they require assistive technology.
Do it Right the First Time
What we appreciate most about John’s effort is that he helped us all do this right the first time. He reached out to us early in the process and he allowed us to be part of the conversation with the vendor. In this way, we can help assure that a project is accessible from the beginning, before time and effort are put into developing it. And we don’t have to spend more time and effort in retrofitting or remediating the application, potentially delaying the project.
A Timely Choice
When Purdue Calumet’s Enterprise Systems develops an application or we create a Web site or a Web page, we can assure that we are meeting the accessibility guidelines outlined in our policy.
But when we buy software from a vendor, we don’t have that same confidence, unless we insist on it. And we don’t always know what questions to ask, or what steps to take to make sure that the software is accessible.
Purdue West Lafayette’s Web Accessibility Committee has provided a page of Tips for Procuring Universally Accessible Software(PDF). The advice is simple and straightforward and it includes links to resources for more information.
Another Partner Next Week
Next Friday, we’ll recognize the final Web Accessibility Partner of the Week for 2012, and name a Web Accessibility Partner of the Month for December!