The University of Colorado Boulder required a mechanism for the campus community to safely gain access to campus during the Covid-19 pandemic. The University engaged a 3rd party vendor, KPMG, to build a web application that allowed the CU community to complete a form and obtain a “pass” in order to access the campus.  Users of the application had to complete a series of questions and then be able to present their digital pass when requested.

How it Worked

CU leadership ensured that accessibility was a key piece of the application’s success criteria; the app would not be approved for launch until the vendor was able to obtain approval from the CU Boulder Digital Accessibility Office's testing service (then called the Accessibility and Usability Lab, or AUL). Due to the accessibility directive from the top levels at CU Boulder, the vendor assured that they would work with the AUL and create an accessible experience for users of the application and understood that the contract would not be complete until the AUL signed off on the vendor passing accessibility requirements.

During the time that this application was being developed, the AUL made engagement with KPMG their top priority, reassigning work as needed to ensure that testers and test supervisors were immediately available for consultation and testing. Likewise, the vendor-provided multiple team members to work with the AUL on accessibility requirements; often, meetings and iterative testing requests were made and scheduled within a few hours. Starting in August of 2020 and continuing through the middle of February 2021, the AUL was engaged with meetings and testing of the “Buff Pass” app multiple times per week.  This high level of engagement and agile collaboration and testing approach allowed for a continuous flow of information in both directions in order to identify and quickly address accessibility issues.

During testing phases, AUL members would meet via Zoom to discuss the features that needed testing and then, after concluding the meeting, immediately begin testing.  One of the key elements in the quick turnaround of issues was the use of screen recordings. The AUL would record issues to video and share the file with the KPMG development team in order to speed up knowledge transfer. 

All told, the AUL team spent close to 170 hours working on the application with KPMG.

End Result

Due to the consistent engagement of both teams, the Buff Pass app was successfully launched in mid-February and the KPMG team has handed off management of the application to CU’s Office of Information Technology for upkeep.  To our knowledge, the CU community was able to utilize this app without experiencing accessibility issues.