Looking back at web accessibility trainings in 2018

The IT accessibility working group started offering trainings for web content creators this past spring.  This fall, we were able to continue that work by holding three additional training sessions between September and November.

Here’s a summary of what the training sessions have accomplished so far:

  • Total sessions in 2018: 10
  • Total attendees: 83, or 50% of our content authors
  • In the group:
    • 10 Directors
    • 11 Associate or Assistant Directors
    • 40+ campus programs represented

If you haven’t come yet, but you want to learn more about web accessibility, fill out the registration form to sign up. We have sessions planned for the spring monthly between January and April, and hope to see you there!

Want to get a better idea of what’s involved? You can preview the training session agenda (Hampshire login required), or read through our web accessibility standards and resources.

Want to share your accessibility story or ask a question? Let us know by emailing itaccessibility@hampshire.edu.

Web Accessibility at ENGAGE 2018

We hope you enjoyed the second annual ENGAGE! conference on campus this past Tuesday!  Members of the IT accessibility working group gave two presentations, adding to the day’s impressive mix of sessions.

I started off the morning with “Inclusivity Online: Web accessibility skills that anyone can use”.  If you missed it, but still want to develop your skills, you can access the slides here: “Inclusivity Online” Presentation Slides

All told, about 8 members of the community (students and staff) attended all or part of the presentation.  The audience raised some great questions about the limitations of screen readers, and the challenges of learning to use them. We also talked about the effects of anxiety and other mental health conditions online – issues that I hadn’t planned to cover! Although we weren’t able to explore them in depth in the session, I recommend checking out this article on Designing for Cognitive Differences, which covers similar topics.

Later in the morning, Aaron Ferguson, along with a whole group of people (David Paquette, Milo Bezark, the CoSAA signers, and the CORAL Accessibility Squad Members), also gave a presentation on Universal Design. This presentation, “Making “Universal Design” Accessible”, covered accessibility concerns on campus more broadly.  It focused on giving participants “an understanding of how they can advance their own positive impact on accessibility at Hampshire, no matter how large or small.”

Want to learn more?  You can access their materials below!

AccEssentials handout

Conceptology handout

Holistic Learning Toolbox

Updates on our 2018 Web Accessibility Trainings

The IT Accessibility Working Group had a successful spring holding web accessibility training sessions. We were proud to share new developments, answer questions, and extend the conversation around web accessibility with folks from all across campus.  Here is a by-the-numbers breakdown of our milestones:

  • Total sessions in Spring 2018: 7
  • Total attendees: 66, or 40% of our content authors
  • In the group:
    • 8 Directors
    • 9 Associate or Assistant Directors
    • 30+ campus programs represented
  • New sessions scheduled for Fall 2018: 3

If you haven’t come yet, but you want to learn more about web accessibility, fill out our registration form to sign up. We have sessions planned for August, September, and November, and hope to see you there!

Want to get a better idea of what’s involved? You can preview the training session agenda (Hampshire login required), or read through our web accessibility standards and resources.

Want to share your accessibility story or ask a question? Let us know by emailing itaccessibility@hampshire.edu.

Robobraille File Conversion is Better Than Ever

Some key updates to RoboBraille tool make converting files into accessible formats even easier than before.

What is RoboBraille?

RoboBraille is a service that can convert a range of different files (PDFs, JPGs, Word Documents, etc.) into accessible formats.  It can recognize the text in scanned images of textbooks or articles, transform PDFs into editable Microsoft Word files, or even produce an MP3 sound file from the text of a document – these are only a few examples of the many possibilities.  You can watch a short video introduction here, or check out the matrix of conversion possibilities to see your options.

RoboBraille is available for all members of the Hampshire community – students, faculty, and staff – to convert documents.  We encourage faculty to use it when they create their course materials, and students can use it as a study tool, if they prefer to read in a particular format or listen to their assignments.

New features, you say?

The updated RoboBraille service now allows for batch processing, so you if you have multiple files to convert, you can upload them all at once. As you might imagine, this makes the experience much more streamlined. (If you’re submitting multiple files at once, they all have to be the same format, though.) The size limit for file uploads has also doubled from 32MB to 64MB.

How to get started?

Visit the new link to RoboBraille and submit your files using the form.  Once your files have been converted, you’ll receive them in their new form via email.

Learning Web Accessibility on Campus

Back at the beginning of March, the web accessibility working group let you know about our plan to offer web accessibility training sessions for content creators on College websites.  Since then, we’ve held three packed sessions and welcomed individuals from all across campus.  So far this year, we’ve trained more than 30 people in web accessibility – about 20 percent of content creators who work on Hampshire sites.

We have seen faculty, staff and students, belonging to more than a dozen departments (communications, admissions, CASA, IT, OPRA, the library, you name it!).  We have also heard and addressed great questions each time, about the ways that accessibility concepts relate to site design, multimedia content like videos, and use of social media.

We’re proud of all the folks on campus who’ve stepped up to be part of this push to make Hampshire’s online presence more accessible to all.  In such a short time, we’ve made substantial progress towards creating a community of knowledgable, aware individuals working together towards this important goal.

If you haven’t come yet, register to attend a training session.

Want to get a better idea of what’s involved? Preview the training session agenda (Hampshire login required), or read through our web accessibility standards and resources.

Did you already attend a session?  Want to share your accessibility story or ask a question? Let us know by emailing itaccessibility@hampshire.edu.

Web Accessibility Workshops

The IT Accessibility Working Group is excited to host web accessibility training sessions during spring break and into the future. We’re reaching out to content authors across campus who maintain content on one or more of Hampshire’s web platforms – like the Hampshire website, a departmental blog, or even the student handbook. It’s critical that our content authors have the tools and knowledge to make their content accessible to all potential readers. Web accessibility training will be required for all content creators to attend over the coming months and into the future.

Our training session will:

  • walk folks through some background information on disability
  • demonstrate assistive software used by readers with visual impairments, and
  • explain the strategies, guidelines, policies we follow to keep our web content accessible.

The training lasts about 90 minutes and will include light snacks. After the session, content authors will be equipped with a toolbox of simple steps they can take when editing College websites.

Content authors: register to attend a training session.

Want to know more?  Have a look at our Accessible Information Technology page, our official IT Accessibility Policy, or let us know your questions by emailing itaccessibility@hampshire.edu.

Website Editors: New Resources Designed for You

The Accessible Information Technology Working Group has updated our resources for writing on the web. Available from the Accessible Information Technology web page, they can help you ensure that the web pages you create are equally available to visitors with a range of abilities and experiences. If you make changes to pages on www.hampshire.edu, or create posts for any College site, these resources are recommended reading.

Questions? Want to learn more? Get in touch with us at itaccessibility@hampshire.edu.

Resource #1: Web Accessibility Tips for Content Authors

Whether you update parts of the main website, add information to a departmental blog, or create Intranet announcements, that makes you a content author. Basic web accessibility doesn’t need to be difficult, and you can brush up your knowledge with these straightforward tips. The information is also downloadable as a PDF checklist for easy reference.

Resource #2: Creating Accessible PDFs Instructions

PDFs can be a polished way to deliver downloadable information, and they’re frequently found attached to web pages. However, it takes a little more time and care to make them accessible to everyone. You can use these Creating Accessible PDF instructions to guide yourself through that process. Whether you’re starting with a Word Document or scanning an article for students, these instructions have got you covered.