University Web Developers

University Web Developers

OK so this is a question I have had for sometime after reading the 508 laws a few times. 508 litterally seems to govern just Federal agencies or a State or Private agency that is working from a Federal grant. Based on this it seems like for most of us, if not almost all, that 508 is really not applicable legally. We have, in Arkansas, an act on the books that essentially speaks the same language as the 508 laws, so that is what we reference and go by as an instituion. We also require level 1, and where possible level 2 WCAG accessibility guidlines.

So the there seems to be a lot of focus on 508, which morally is not a bad thing. But when you have to justify this position with faculty, lawyers, public, etc.. it is a detail it seems that can open up a hole in the argument for which there is no rebuttal, other than "because I said you have to do it".

Here is the reference, under purpose: http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Content&ID=12

I guess my question is, what is your institutions take on adhereing and promoting 508 vs. a state law or institutional policy?

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It's the equivalent of having an elevator in a building or accessible rest rooms, except there aren't too many "code" inspectors (literally) making sure all of the sites are compliant.

I am surprised at how many federal, state, and local government sites are still not compliant. In New York, even the page that contains the statewide accessibility policy has a logo without an alt attribute. Mark links to this page in his post above. *sigh*

Thanks, Sveta, for pointing out again WHY we need to be vigilant.
I dont think this is an issue of WHY for some of us, it's an issue of HOW. when we have a new videographer pumping out hours of video, times how ever much this is happening on our domain and being served up via YouTube, and no transcriber or resources to handle the transcription, then we are in a bad spot. The institution will not provide resources to address the issue, and im putting in 20 hours overtime a week just to meet my current goals. So how do we effeciently address these growing issues of rich media with out growing resources to tackle them?

The mind is very willing, the flesh is just tired now and can't do it all!
Dear Chris Nixon,

To reply to your questions, you can get transcripts either by hiring a student assistant or outsource them to captionists. That's what our college is doing, we started using captioning services a few months ago to get transcripts (with time code) and currently working on our website redesign.

To let you know, I had no support services at all for 7 years in secondary school (I'm originally from other country) since the disability laws are not as strong as here. My hearing loss is so profound that I couldn't understand anything that teachers were saying in classes. Especially two classes (literature class with heavy discussions and world culture class with no textbook). So, my mother did VERBATIM (yes, word by word) notes by HAND for the recorded audio tapes that were worth average of 5 hours of those classes EVERY week for the last 2 (TWO) years of high school. She didn't complain and tried her best to help me to get more information in any way she could. Now with all those advanced technologies (typing on computer is faster than by hand) and more resources than my mother had in past, you are complaining how hard it is for you to transcribe audio files.

The simplest way is just to add as less of video/audio files as possible and type more text information that is accessible for everyone and can be easily indexed by search engines.
I don't think I'm complaining at all, I think I am asking for how other people are dealing with this on top of their other work. I do not have a student worker, nor do I have funds to outsource the transcriptions. You do, so how did you go about persuading the money holders that whis was a neccessity and they need to provide resources for it, so far my efforts of "its against the law not to", "we should do it because it's right", etc.. have not gotten me anywhere.

And believe me, we will be pushing out more and more video and podcasts and there is nothing I can do to stop that deluge, its the nature of the web now adays as you pointed out.
Have your lawyer draw up a lawsuit scenario outlining what liability the school would have from just a single complaint filed against it. You could also go to whoever is responsible for your State's accessibility compliance, and ask them for assistance with respect to how to persuade your upper management to comply. All it might take is a call from the state saying they've had "anonymous concerns" raised that puts them at a liability.
Thanks Michael, that's a great idea!
Chris Nixon,

Are you familiar with the Target lawsuit brought by blind users - it ended up with Target paying them 6 million dollars plus taking accessibility training and spending extra time and money to revamp their website to make it accessible.

You might want to mention this to your school. I'm sure your school would rather save money by investing it into full accessibility from the beginning than spending even more later on as a result of the lawsuit and ending up with an embarrassing reputation.

Also, I was reading in the uwebd listserv about one college being investigated by the EEOC for the accessibility of their website. You might want to mention this to your school as well.

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