Auburn University is dedicated to the success of all of our students, and we should ensure that access to and use of information and technology by students with disabilities is equivalent in nature to access to and use of information and technology by people without disabilities. Auburn University is subject to the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Auburn University has convened the Technology Accessibility Group (TAG) to initiate accessibility plans to improve technology accessibility and usability for Auburn University students, faculty, and staff.
Over the next year, we will be working to improve accessibility in three main areas: administrative web sites, campus-wide technology, and information dissemination. TAG, chaired by Associate Provost Winn and Tracy Donald, Director of the Office of Accessibility, is composed of members from Office of Information Technology, Library, Senate Leadership, AA/EEOC, Office of Communication and Marketing, the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling/School Psychology, and General Counsel. Initially our efforts will focus on changes that reach a wide range of users and technology.
Under the leadership of the Office of Communication and Marketing and the Office of Information Technology, TAG has introduced new web standards to improve accessibility and usability on Auburn University administrative sites. TAG has chosen to adopt Level A and AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, with an introduction date of January 24, 2011. OIT has developed a website, http://www.auburn.edu/template, which will guide designers in the implementation of the guidelines. (For an overview of WCAG go to the following website: http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag.php)
Standards and guidelines developed by the team will introduce the concept of universal design and move toward a more inclusive campus, which TAG believes is more aligned with the spirit of the ADA. Developing and initiating the standards and guidelines will be challenging, but well worth the effort. As we have seen from past efforts to improve physical accessibility on our campus, all students and employees benefit from enhanced usability: ramps, elevators, and automatic doors are just a few examples of beneficial additions to our campus. The next step is to address the barriers in the digital environment.