This survey report was published July 2019.
The Orbis Cascade Alliance (Alliance) and Northwest Academic Computing Consortium (NWACC) are working together to further our common goal of ensuring that digital resources and services are accessible to our users. A joint Accessibility Working Group (AWG) was formed to develop collaborative activities related to support for digital accessibility. The overarching goal identified by the AWG is to foster regional collaboration and information exchange among our member institutions.
The purpose of the accessibility survey is to gauge priorities for collaborative activities, and gather information about resources and expertise that institutions may be able to share. The survey was distributed to member CIOs and Library Deans/Directors in March 2019. Because responsibility for digital accessibility is highly distributed in our institutions, recipients were encouraged to distribute the survey widely and solicit as many responses as possible.
167 individuals from 35 member institutions responded to the survey, representing a wide variety of institutions and organizational units. Most respondents play multiple roles in supporting accessibility at their institutions, including direct support for people with accessibility needs, creating accessible web resources, working with vendors and contracts to ensure accessibility standards are met, and generally working to ensure regulatory compliance. Accessibility support roles do vary, depending on the organizational division of the respondent, but there is substantial overlap in the top five responses.
Nearly half of the respondents identified understanding accessibility best practices as one of their top three institutional priorities. Other high priorities include raising awareness & educating the community, collaborating across institutional departments, understanding evolving compliance requirements, and helping faculty provide accessible resources. Again the survey reveals some variations in how people perceive institutional priorities, but overall there is substantial commonality across constituencies.
Going forward there is considerable enthusiasm for participating in collaborative activities to help us all better support accessibility in our institutions. Respondents generally favor online activities such as webinars and a shared repository of policies and best practices, though short face to face events would also be appreciated. Furthermore, 36 individuals across a wide variety of institutions and roles volunteered to participate in the Accessibility Working Group and help develop future regional and collaborative activities.