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New Web Accessibility Services Now Available

Thursday, September 6, 2018

At Stanford, we’re committed to building websites and web-based applications that are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.  

To help support you and your effort in meeting this goal, outlined in Stanford’s online accessibility policy, the Stanford Online Accessibility Program (SOAP) and University IT (UIT) are pleased to introduce a training package, a set of scanning tools, and a consulting service.  

These new services, available to all SUNet ID holders at no charge, will help you learn about online accessibility concepts, build accessible websites and web apps, evaluate web apps and services you are considering purchasing, and more. 

“Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to Stanford’s mission, and ensuring people have online access to our services is essential,” said Jiatyan Chen, manager of SOAP.  “The work and knowledge needed to create and check for online accessibility can be overwhelming, and these tools and training are meant to help our staff prioritize and learn in small steps.”

The new services are managed by SOAP and jointly funded by UIT and University Communications. In addition to financially supporting the services, UIT partnered with SOAP to help review and select the vendor and provide ongoing technical support and consultation for the services. Other areas also contributed to the vendor review and selection process, including representatives from the School of Earth, School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Business, and University Communications. 

Use the new services

These new services are available for you to use today. 

  • Access University: Get educated through this self-paced online training package for accessibility topics covering general accessibility, code development, and content authoring. SOAP has a list of suggested courses based on your position including developers, project managers, content authors, and more.
  • Accessibility Management Platform (AMP): Leverage this two-part scanning tool, which consists of a site crawler and reporting tool, plus a companion browser tool called Access Assistant (explained below). Each department and administrative unit may configure their own site scans and reports. Reports and remediation information may also be shared with vendors working on Stanford projects. Since AMP contains a massive amount of information cross-linked into numerous pages, we highly recommend that you review this set of videos and written instructions on how to use AMP and Access Assistant to perform the basic accessibility checks and remediation.
  • Access Assistant: Use this browser tool to test accessibility compliance in context and behind authentication. This is primarily a developer tool to step through individual issues on single web pages, and help you fix each issue through explanation, code examples, and testing procedures. It can use the same AMP asset space for reporting back single-page test results. Access Assistant may be downloaded within AMP's Toolbox.
  • Access Advisor: If your needs extend beyond what these other services can satisfy, you may be eligible to leverage a prepaid set of consulting hours for advanced, problem-specific topics. These limited consulting hours are designed to supplement the general knowledge covered by Access University. Use of the hours is currently facilitated through SOAP.
  • Paid Consulting Services: Still need more? You may consider purchasing additional consulting services such as site audit, in-person training, subject-specific training, and additional Access Advisor hours at the lowest rates through our master service agreement with Level Access. Contact SOAP for more information. 

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