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RE: Access guidelines, training, planning in University

From: Simon White <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 16:19:10 -0000
Message-ID: <D1EFBFDCD178C24DA607A306D6E3A7114F72E1@URANUs>
To: "Jim Byrne" <j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>, "W3c_Access" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Dear Jim,
I have not done this type of work for universities, but I have overseen some projects that involved large and disparate content areas, so I can sort of offer advice. However, it would be churlish of me to tell you that I know it all, so I will just offer advice that is about large projects rather than how to make them accessible.

I have found, in my experience, that to do the whole thing in one go is impossible and leads to sloppy coding and shortcuts that eliminate the point of exercise. It is best to determine how to approach it first and set clear goals and guidelines, prioritising each separate element of the website strategy as you go. This way, it is easy to manage the project and ensure that standards are being met. So, what is important information on the websites that everyone should have access to?

If you determine these first and act on that goal, you will quickly find that the rest get easier as you go along. Now, this is just a methodology for running a programme of accessibility across a large number of differing sites; others on the list, particularly the government people out there, will hopefully be able to aid you in how to go about realising the goals you set.

I hope that this has helped in some way. I think that it would be fair to say that it cannot be done overnight, but small changes can have an enormous effect on a site in terms of accessibility, for example, the addition of good alt attributes/tags/elements/whatever you wish to call them. However, this is not the be all and end all of accessibility and should form part of a decent accessibility strategy.

Good luck with the projects.

Best Wishes


-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Byrne [mailto:j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk]
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 16:01
To: W3c_Access
Subject: Access guidelines, training, planning in University


I am looking for some thoughts about the following.

I have been promoting Web accessibility in my university for a number of
years and people have now started listening. Not only are they listening I
have been asked to say what needs to be done to ensure current and future
university Web sites are accessible.

This is looking to me like a major task involving at least some of the

* auditing sites, 
* providing training for Web designers and those updating sites,
* putting together style guides(?)
* advocating adoption of standards.

In common with other universities there are hundreds of individual campus
Web sites, for many different purposes; managed learning environments,
public relations, departmental and individual lecturers sites etc.
Prioritization is probably the key.

Has anyone on the list tackled such a job? Does anyone work within a
university where building accessible Web sites is the normal procedure. If
so can you tell me how you got to that point? What do your think needs to be
done? What should the first steps be? Should training be seen as a key part
of the strategy - or are guidelines enough?

Jim Byrne Project Director, The Making Connections Unit, Glasgow Caledonian
University, Glasgow G4 OBA, 0141 331 3893

Everything you need to know about publishing accessible information on the

Services: Website Accessibility Audits, Accessible Web design, Accessible
Website Management Training.

The Making Connections Unit: http://www.mcu.org.uk/
Scottish Disability Information Mailing list:

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Received on Tuesday, 26 February 2002 11:19:11 UTC

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