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UCSF IT Developers Make Accessibility a Priority
Author: Jill Wolters
Developers make accessibility a priority
A success story for the IT website
The IT website IT.ucsf.edu, was featured during the September “Testing Websites with Users with Disabilities” session. Each month a different UCSF website is featured and tested by a user with a disability.
The featured site’s web team always receives a recording of the session, as a user research deliverable. The recording makes it handy to review and share barriers or usability issues with stakeholders to better understand the experience of a user with a disability.
This new deliverable along with the recording for the featured site’s web team is an executive summary, recapping the results of the testing session in easy-to-understand language. IT website product owner Mike Marmon says, “I can see a list of issues quickly and at a glance before referring to the video recording for additional context.”
Digital Accessibility Specialist Apprentice, Christina Ovalle, wrote the executive summary. While cross-referencing WCAG success criteria, Christina noticed an issue on the homepage was already fixed. This was a record-time response to implement a fix – the day after a testing session! Christina reached out to Sasha to learn about the process and how she fixed it so quickly.
Developers take quick action
Sasha Miller, IT Web Services web developer for the IT.ucsf.edu site, and Jayson Jaynes, UI/UX Design and Development Lead, attended this testing session. During the session, Sasha noted that when she and Jayson saw the experience of the screen reader user struggling with alt attributes for images, “We were very upset that the user encountered this barrier and knew we needed to fix it.”
The barrier was that images were missing alt text for card images for news articles and events. The screen reader user explained that an image should always have an alt attribute. And even if the image is supposed to be ignored, that just means it should have an empty alt attribute.
Jayson prioritized the work. Sasha was given time dedicated to applying and testing a code fix to remove this barrier. There is still more to do, but sometimes it’s so satisfying to fix issues that are low-hanging fruit.
Why accessibility matters
Because everyone should be able to access the content on the website, accessibility is everyone’s responsibility. Increase your awareness. Find out how an assistive technology user experiences a UCSF website. Then, follow Sasha and Jayson’s example and make it a priority to do the right thing.
Attend future testing sessions
To have your website featured for a future session or to request an accommodation for this virtual event, please contact Jill Wolters, Digital Accessibility Program Manager, at [email protected] or 415-514-2941.