University Community

OIT’s Digital Accessibility Team completes Document Accessibility Pilot Project

The Office of Information Technology’s Digital Accessibility Team is excited to announce the completion of its Document Accessibility Champions Pilot Program. This initiative was funded through a grant awarded by the Ohio Department of Development and aimed to improve document accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

The main goal of the grant project was to reduce the number of inaccessible PDF documents on the website, equipping participants with a baseline understanding of document accessibility, and getting as many PDFs remediated as possible. 

Key achievements of the project were the in-depth training provided to faculty and staff volunteers. Twenty-one individuals from 16 departments participated in the Document Accessibility Champions cohort, achieving an impressive 97 percent completion rate. 

Participants demonstrated substantial knowledge growth, with an average pre-training quiz score of 76 percent, increasing to a post-training average of 96 percent. This quiz measured basic understanding of key concepts. Weekly check-in meetings provided ongoing support and collaboration for the project.

Another vital aspect of the project included identifying four departments with a significant number of online documents requiring accessibility improvements. While this process is still ongoing, the project will increase accessible documents by removing inaccessible and outdated documents, converting documents to web pages, or professionally remediating inaccessible documents. 

Since the start of the project, the team has had a 58 percent increase in compliant documents, a 26 percent reduction in non-compliant documents, and a 41 percent decrease in untagged documents.

A Microsoft Word plug-in was identified and procured for project participants to use for a one-year period to expedite the conversion of accessible Word documents into PDFs. Additionally, four department representatives received a portion of the grant money to facilitate professionally remediating complex documents on their department's webpages.

The Digital Accessibility Team is thrilled with the results of the Document Accessibility Pilot Project. It is on track to meet its goals and is positively impacting the campus community. By prioritizing digital accessibility, the initiative ensures online spaces are increasingly welcoming and inclusive for faculty, staff, and students. This initiative promotes equity and enhances the university's digital landscape by preparing this cohort of web content creators with the knowledge and tools they need. 

Finally, it is important to note that this project would not have been possible without the innovative thinking of Jill Bateman, digital accessibility coordinator, to seek out alternative funding for the project and for her leadership of the cohort activities. The Digital Accessibility Team  would also like to thank the cohort participants for their hard work and initiative.

March 29, 2024
Staff reports