First session following organizational changes focused on the new structure, simplification of the accessibility review process, and the progress with moving general accessibility training to a new platform (while re-writing it completely). Below are extended notes from the three topics we focused on.

Presented by Dan Jones

Why new ISC organization?

  • Increase visibility for PD, Compliance, Security, and Digital Accessibility
  • Synergy with new compliance office
    • Cross cutting support across campus units
    • Similar approach or operating practices
      • Lead with principles and rely in individuals to make decisions based on those principles.
      • Ethical by design, many compliance challenges with processes and systems are design problems.
      • We need to get out of silos as most problems require support and work from many different units. Silos also lead to poor design decisions.
  • What about linkage to IT?
    • Perennial question for security is should it be inside or out of IT.
    • The answer depends on influence needed. If the IT organization is less mature you will need to rely more on relationships to implement changes. A more mature organization can allow you to integrate with processes such as change management, project management, etc.
    • OIT more mature so it is possible to step out of IT, maintain influence within IT, and increase influence and visibility with leadership.

Presented by Kosta Tovstiadi

Accessibility review is reviewing digital applications, web sites, and services to ensure that they are accessible to all of our users. Currently the process can be broken down in 5 simple steps: start, decide, verify, fix and launch. That sequence is sound and works well but we hear that the current process can be simplified around three key areas:

  • Too complex
    • Too many steps
    • Complicated workflow
    • Expert knowledge needed
  • Too time-consuming
    • Too many steps
    • Too many gates and checkpoints
    • Undefined timelines
  • Too stressful
    • Unknown timeline
    • Unknown outcomes
    • Completing the review before launch

With those lessons, we aim to simplify the process with the guidance that it takes half the time, half as many steps, and doesn't require expert accessibility knowledge. To get us there, we plan to focus on these 6 areas of improvement:

  • Reduce the number of forms
  • Shorten and simplify the forms
  • Delegate decisions where possible
  • Simplify the web presence
  • Focus on public resources
  • Align with the service lifecycle rather than the project lifecycle

We have started implementing changes in October; a complete overhaul is planned to be completed by the end of 2018, with continous conversation with key stakeholders to ensure disruption-free workflow.

Laura Hamrick and Mike Williamson introduced the Digital Accessibility Office’s current effort to create a general digital accessibility fundamentals training for faculty and staff on campus. This introductory training will lay a foundation of knowledge that can be built on in the future with more specific accessibility training modules on topics such as accessibility guidance for faculty, document accessibility trainings, and more.  The goal of this introductory training is to build empathy for individuals with disabilities and equip learners with tools to create accessible content across many platforms via a core set of content accessibility skills and an understanding of common digital accessibility barriers. The creators want the training to be meaningful and engaging, so they will provide stories of real experiences with digital accessibility, as well as opportunities for engagement via discussion boards.

Many attendees were excited about the idea of having a specific place where they and their colleagues could obtain best practices for content accessibility.  Additionally, many attendees expressed a desire for further trainings that would provide more specific information around topics like document or form accessibility best practices.  This led into a conversation about the need to ensure that all entities providing accessibility training content are on the same page, both to ensure that work isn’t duplicated and that we are using the same language and terminology regarding accessibility practices across campus departments.