November 22, 2010 9:29 am


Ensuring our websites are usable by people of all abilities and disabilities is a legal and moral obligation many higher ed institutions have failed to live up to.

Eric Stoller, an Oregon-based student affairs technology expert, national speaker, and blogger for Inside HigherEd, joins Higher Ed Live to talk about accessibility on the high ed web, including legal requirements, who’s doing it right and all the tools a school needs to get it up to speed.

Accessibility Links & Resources
I’ll be constantly adding links to various web accessibility links. Make sure to check back!

PDFs, Accessibility, and Section 508 Compliance Resource

A comprehensive list of what schools are doing about Section 508

Web Developer toolbar for Firefox

Web Accessibility Initiative

Web Accessibility Techniques

WebAIM Accessibility Checklist

Univerity of Texas at Austin Web Accessibility Checklist

Cynthia Says Accessibility Checker

Vimeo and Accessibility

YouTube and captions

Accessible web services and technology providers

Accessible Twitter

UIC Accessibility


AHEAD (The Association on Higher Education And Disability

Great resource page from AHEAD

Huge resource for Accessibility info – “Designing More Usable Web Sites”

EDUCAUSE Accessibility Constituent Group

Demo of a guy browsing the web via screenreader


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  • Eric Olsen

    So, here’s the thing. Loved the episode! Very informative. Yet, at the end, I felt no immediate pressure to prioritize this. Since many universities are so far behind on many marketing basics, I can’t imagine these tasks, as worthy as they are, will become mainstream without legislation.

    • Seth Odell

      You’re hitting on a sad truth about accessibility. Due to the lack of solid legislation (and more importantly case law, as pointed out via twitter by @Markgr) the only pressure school’s will feel is the pressure from within their own ranks. It’s up to all of us as professionals to demand better. For now though, school’s will likely continue to get away with sub-par accessibility efforts.

      Hopefully together we can change that.

    • Eric Stoller

      For me, accessibility is easy to prioritize when I think about it as a human right. I think it’s rather sad that as professionals, we have to wait to be sued in order to act. As marketers, we can do better. If we don’t start to engage in fully ethical practice, then we will further the negative stereotypes that are associated with marketing. Ironically, web marketers that make their sites/content more accessible increase the overall reach of their message. So in essence, those marketers who aren’t promoting and creating an accessible web are not really doing a good job of marketing. The pressure to create an accessible has to come from inside. Legislation can help, but it can never have the same power and impact as when we know that we are doing the right thing.

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  • Dennis Lembrée

    Thanks for listing Accessible Twitter!
    Another good conference is Accessing Higher Ground in Colorado in the fall.
    Couple clarifications, playing Devil’s advocate here, Flash CAN be made accessible, but takes much more effort and expertise. Also, using frames doesn’t necessarily make a site inaccessible; just a bad practice.

    • Eric Stoller

      Hi Meghann – I uploaded the video to YouTube today with the hope that it would get auto-captioned. Alas, YouTube’s auto-captioning system seems to fail on every single upload when a video has been filmed (at least with my laptop) via a MBP iSight. It’s really frustrating. I need to find someone who can type up a transcript as my typist ability is no where near up to the task of transcribing a video of this length.

  • Anonymous

    Great episode. Definitely would be interested in a follow up show on captioning for the web. I unfortunately will admit that I know that not all of our content is accessible, and it has been on my “to do list” for a long time. I am committing to prioritizing it this summer! I think our summer interns will get to take away a lot of great accessibility knowledge 🙂 Seth, you really are bringing such great Pro. Dev to our field.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks Jess! Eric really was the star of this show, lots of great info. I’d love to expand the conversation further and talk more about captioning.

        Eric – I’m just not sure I could handle you as a guest again. Too much awesome.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks Jess! Eric really was the star of this show, lots of great info. I’d love to expand the conversation further and talk more about captioning.

        Eric – I’m just not sure I could handle you as a guest again. Too much awesome.

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