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Web Accessibility Awards

Purdue's Web Accessibility Awards were initiated in 2011 to help promote equal access to Purdue University's web pages. The Web Accessibility Awards recognize colleges, schools, departments, programs, and units that have made great strides in meeting or exceeding the University's standards for accessible web design while demonstrating excellence in design and communication. These awards of $1,000 will be given to two winners each year during the four-year implementation of Purdue's Web Accessibility Policy.

A description of the past Web Accessibility Awards recipients and their accomplishments can be found below. Recipients and many past nominees are paying more attention to alternative text on images, using proper headings instead of using bolding and italics, and adding labels to form fields. These are the types of accessibility features the Web Accessibility Awards Voting Committee look for amongst other common accessibility features such as tables with headers, tagged PDFs, access to information for keyboard only users, and closed captions for videos. Since the Web Accessibility Policy was adopted in 2010, Purdue websites system-wide have continued to make good progress in improving their accessibility to all.

2014

Purdue University Calumet homepage, http://webs.purduecal.edu/, developed and maintained by the Office of Marketing and Communications.   The webpage not only meets the University’s standard for accessible web design, it exceeds it by using WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative)-ARIA (Accessibility of Rich Internet Applications).  WAI-ARIA defines a way to make Web content and Web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. It especially helps with dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies. Currently certain functionality used in Web sites is not available to some users with disabilities, especially people who rely on screen readers and people who cannot use a mouse. WAI-ARIA addresses these accessibility challenges, for example, by defining new ways for functionality to be provided to assistive technology. With WAI-ARIA, developers can make advanced Web applications accessible and usable to people with disabilities.

Additionally, the homepage is visually appealing, clean, and well organized, making it user-friendly.  The banner slideshow includes a pause button that gives users the ability to stop a slide and read the information.  The site tags images with alternative text to improve accessibility, and it is also accessible to keyboard-only users.  Purdue University Calumet homepage is an excellent example of how visual design and web accessibility can work together to provide information to all users in an efficient and well-designed manner. 

Purdue Extended Campus Web Accessibility Scanner, https://www.pec.purdue.edu/webaccessibility/.   This free tool allows users to scan web pages for issues detailed by the Section 508 guidelines for web accessibility.  It was created to aid Purdue web developers in conforming to a common web accessibility standard in a more feasible manner.  The scanner’s simple and clean design makes it easy to find errors in web pages and to take steps to correct them.  Some highlights of the tool include keyboard-only navigation that includes pop-ups and an enlarge page function.  It stands out from other web accessibility checkers with its straightforward explanation of errors that includes why it is important to fix a particular error as well as how to fix it.

2013

Krannert School of Management Undergraduate Website, http://www.krannert.purdue.edu/undergraduate/. In addition to meeting the University’s standard for accessible web design, the website is well organized and has a responsive design useful for mobile devices. The banner slideshow includes a pause button which gives users the ability to stop a slide and read the information. The site includes tagged images with alternative text, and videos are closed captioned. The site is also accessible to keyboard-only users, which is important as many individuals are unable to use a mouse. Krannert School of Management Undergraduate Website is an excellent example of how visual design and web accessibility can work together to provide information to all users in an efficient and well-designed manner.

Institute for Accessible Science Hub, http://iashub.org. In addition to meeting the University’s standard for accessible web design, the website is well organized, making it user-friendly. When JavaScript is turned off, individuals can still see the links on the site. The site does a very good job of tagging images with alternative text to improve accessibility, and videos on the website are closed captioned. The site also has an Accessibility Statement and a unique form for submitting accessibility issues within the website. The overall accessibility of the Institute for Accessible Science Hub is very impressive given the large volume of webpages this website includes.

2012

The College of Agriculture, https://ag.purdue.edu. In addition to ease of navigation, this website incorporates many accessibility features including skip navigation and labels for form fields. Nearly all of the site’s PDFs were tagged to improve accessibility. This website also includes a link to turn on “More Accessible Mode” when the page is viewed in SharePoint. The overall accessibility of the College’s Website is very impressive given the large volume of webpages this website comprises.

The College of Liberal Arts, http://www.cla.purdue.edu. In addition to meeting the University’s standard for accessible web design, the website is well organized, making it user friendly. It uses a unique design where the navigation visually appears to be at the top of the page but structurally is at the bottom of the page. This removes the need for a skip navigation link and provides quick access to the content of the page – especially important for some users. The College’s website also includes good header structure, use of contrast, and a reader link for PDFs.

2011

The National AgrAbility Project website, http://www.agrability.org. In addition to meeting the University’s standard for accessible web design, this website is very user friendly and has a pleasing visual design. All of the YouTube videos on this website are closed captioned, and a user may request text transcripts of web-based training modules. The National AgrAbility Project website is an excellent example of how visual design and web accessibility can work together to provide information to all users in an efficient and well-designed manner.

The ALT508 Image ALT Text Checker tool. This free tool, produced by ITaP’s Informatics group, provides a clean and concise report that allows developers to review all images and associated alt tags for an entire site. While most tools will scan your site for the existence of alt tags, there is no assurance that these alt tags are actually accurate or necessary. ALT508 Image ALT Text Checker takes this a step further by displaying a visual report of images next to their associated alt tags. By displaying images and their alt tags together, it is often easier to determine whether the alt text is appropriate for the image. This free tool can be found at https://www.itap.purdue.edu/checker/ and is available for download to anyone with a Purdue career account.

 

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