A2Y Conference Summary

On October 19th, 2023, the Digital Accessibility Office hosted the A2Y Digital Accessibility Conference to increase awareness of digital accessibility, commend the work of disability justice advocates, and provide education on the work that is still needed in this space. This month’s newsletter will provide a high-level retrospective of the conference sessions and our wonderful speakers. The conference had over 100 registrants from all over the country and provided multiple concurrent tracks of presentations throughout the day. Multiple sessions were recorded and will be made available on the Campus Impact page of our DAO website.

A2Y Conference Sessions

Office of Civil Rights - Rehabilitation Act

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) joined us to speak about their role in enforcing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Rebecca Tanglen and Mary Lou Mobley provided information to participants about the Rehabilitation Act and and how they enforce it, demonstrated Section 504’s ongoing relevance by highlighting a sample of recent case resolutions, and provided a walk through of how they assess a website’s accessibility and usability.

Crip Time as a Disability Expertise: Reimagining Inclusivity in Higher Education

Kevin Darcy, CU Boulder PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropologyand 2023 NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellow, presented “Crip Time as a Disability Expertise: Reimagining Inclusivity in Higher Education.” Crip time means that people with disabilities need more time to arrive somewhere and that it takes people with disabilities longer to complete activities because of ableist barriers and the ways that disability shapes all aspects of life (Kafer 2013). Kevin explained how his ethnographic data illustrates how crip time is inherent in quotidian activities, such as cooking and transportation, and the ways that crip time—as it emerges in professional academic spaces, such as in faculty expectations and completing course assignments—comes to matter in higher education.

Path to Digital Inclusivity

Marilú Pardo Rodriguez, Tracy Jennings, and Thomas Wingred, from the CU Boulder Leeds Online Team, joined us to discuss their dedication to enhancing digital accessibility in higher education by executing a department-wide push to caption and provide transcripts to all course videos. They shared practical strategies, insights that have transformed their workflow, the crucial partnership with CU Boulder's Digital Accessibility Office (DAO), and valuable lessons gained from their journey.

Digital Accessibility and Tech Tools: Breaking Barriers for an Equitable Learning Environment

Kathia Salome Ibacache and Amanda Rybin Koob, both CU Boulder Librarians, discussed the process of how their curiosity about digital accessibility, especially during emergency remote learning, led to their partnership with the DAO to investigate the accessibility of commonly used tech tools, such as Jamboard, Kahoot!, Mentimeter, Padlet, and Poll Everywhere.

Automated and Manual Accessibility Testing

DAO staff members Mike Williamson, Addie Hugen, and Marisha Lamont-Manfre took a deep dive into automated and manual accessibility testing. They provided an operational definition of digital accessibility, explained why digital accessibility is about user experience, provided demonstrations of what the end-user experience looks and feels like with a screen reading application, and provided practices and resources to help understand and implement digital accessibility into one’s work.

Digital Content Accessibility Basics

DAO staff member, Ally Bartley, facilitated a training on platform-agnostic practices one can take to proactively make digital content more accessible from creation versus retrofitting for accessibility.

Data Viz for Everyone

Emilie Young and Gautam Gottipati, CU Boulder Office of Data Analytics, and Mike Williamson, Marisha Lamont-Manfre, and Addie Hugen, CU Boulder DAO, presented on how embedding data visualizations from third-party tools often lead to inaccessible user experiences. This session focused on their efforts to overcome this challenge by creating custom Drupal components that ensure a seamless experience for everyone, including those who rely on assistive technology.

Accessibility Is About More than What the Law Says

Amelia Dickerson, CU Boulder Disability Services, presented “Accessibility is About More than What the Law Says,” focusing on the tireless advocacy work that took place to implement Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Buff Portal Accessibility

CU Boulder Office of Information Technology staff members Dhaivat Shah, Davin Simmons, Gwen Persons, Paul O'Brian, and DAO staff member Mike Williamson presented on the history and evolution of the accessibility of CU Boulder’s student portal, Buff Portal. The team shared how they have built iterative testing and accessibility consideration into their process from design to development to release.

October Challenge

Review the list of presentations and determine if any pique your interest. If so, email the Digital Accessibility Office and request more information or a recording of the session. Additionally, we’d be happy to connect you with the presenters to discuss their work. Please note not every session was recorded, so we may not be able to fulfill all requests for post-conference viewing.

DAO News

Follow the DAO on LinkedIn! By following us, you'll get access to behind-the-scenes insight on our office, information about our services, applicable accessibility tips posted every Tuesday, resources, upcoming event information, and more.

DAO Office Hours are now the 4th Tuesday of every month from 1 to 2 PM MT. Our next office hours will be held on Tuesday, October, 24th.

Your Thoughts

We want to hear from you about any questions or issues you run into while trying out this accessibility practice this month! Please send us your thoughts on this month’s topic.

If you have questions or comments, or would like support with accessibility, please contact us at DigitalAccessibility@Colorado.EDU.