Moving Toward Organizational Maturity in Digital Accessibility

WRK11 Workshops Track

102D, Wisconsin Center

WEDNESDAY, 1:00 - 4:30 PM

Digital accessibility in higher education presents opportunities to improve the online experience for people with disabilities, whether current or prospective students, staff, or members of the public who interact with the institution. It’s also extremely challenging to move from a position of firefighting in response to actual or potential of legal action toward a more mature, strategic approach to accessibility -- one that is sustainable and delivers demonstrable positive change for everyone.

In this workshop, we’ll provide tools to help participants identify the key challenges present that block meaningful long-term improvement in accessibility strategy at their institutions, and explore the opportunities that can be exploited as foundations for a cross-campus approach to improved accessibility. We’ll use our continuum of organisational accessibility maturity as a framework to discuss ways of implementing an accessibility strategy and supporting tactics that leads to successful engagement with leadership, central services, faculty, and student organisations to create a culture change across campus, and better digital user experiences for everyone.

Throughout the workshop, participants will be encouraged to share their own experiences, whether positive or negative, as case studies for discussion.

The presenters combine over 30 years’ experience working in higher education. As accessibility and user experience consultants who work with universities on accessibility strategy, we bring a wealth of experience in understanding organisational complexity to define and deliver support to higher education organisations in adjusting strategy and activity to address accessibility across different domains.


Sarah Horton
The Paciello Group

Sarah Horton started her career in interaction design in 1991 at the Yale Center for Advanced Instructional Media, creating award-winning interactive instructional software. She was an instructional technologist at Dartmouth College for 11 years before becoming Director of Web Strategy and Design. In this role, she was responsible for planning and developing Dartmouth’s digital environment, leading a team of user-experience professionals responsible for web and media design, development, and production. More recently, Sarah was Web Strategy Project Lead at Harvard University, responsible for strategy and user experience design for the Harvard Web Publishing Initiative. Sarah is currently User Experience Strategy Lead with The Paciello Group. Sarah is the co-author with Patrick Lynch of Web Style Guide, now in its third edition and translated into more than eight languages. She also wrote Web Teaching Guide, which won the American Association of Publishers award for the Best Book in Com

David Sloan
The Paciello Group

David Sloan is The Paciello Group (TPG) User Experience Research Lead. He joined TPG in May 2013, and specializes in helping organizations conduct effective UX research with people with disabilities and older people. He has a strong interest in digital accessibility policy and strategy, in the accessibility of educational technology, and in teaching accessibility and inclusive design. Previously, he spent over 13 years at the School of Computing, in the University of Dundee, Scotland, as a researcher, lecturer and consultant specializing in inclusive design and accessibility. In 1999, he helped set up the Digital Media Access Group, one of the world’s first web accessibility consultancies, and pioneered a mixed-method approach to accessibility evaluation, combining manual and automated inspection methods with usability evaluations with people with disabilities. He also set up and co-ordinated the University’s Web Accessibility Support Service, working with web developers, learning tech.


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