Building the Digital Accessibility Gateway: A Data Driven Model for Accessibility


Presented at 8:00am in Colorado G-H on Thursday, November 9, 2023.



  • Noelle Bareswilt, University of Cincinnati
  • Heidi Pettyjohn, , University of Cincinnati

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Interactive/Discussion
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: General Conference


The Digital Accessibility Gateway is a web-based dashboard that allows university leadership to see key metrics in accessibility compliance and efforts from their unit, including courses, websites, and procured software. Presenters will demonstrate the dashboard and show how they collect and communicate relevant data in a sustainable way. Attendees will engage in activities and discussions to identify ways they can drive shared responsibility toward accessibility from the top down.


The University of Cincinnati formed a cross-functional team, known as the Accessibility Network, in 2016. This team is made up of staff from four units at the university: Accessibility Resources; IT; Marketing and Communication; and Academic Affairs and has worked together for the past 7 years making data-based decisions to connect and empower people, form processes, and select tools that further the knowledge surrounding accessibility on campus and create an accessible culture for students, faculty, and staff.

The Accessibility Network recently launched an innovative, web-based tool called the Digital Accessibility Gateway(DAG). This is a dashboard that takes a high-level snapshot of the data we collect and turns it into information that campus leadership can use to form and support accessibility initiatives based on what different colleges and units are achieving in different areas: Training, Academic, Third-Party, and Web. Users of the DAG are primarily Deans, Vice Presidents, and the President’s executive team.

Leaders from the Accessibility Network will demonstrate the Digital Accessibility Gateway and explain how they collect and communicate relevant data in an organized, scalable, and sustainable way. We will review how the data-driven model was built up and supported from the beginning so that we could start collecting data that was useful and able to be turned into functional information. We will also talk about how the process of building a data collection strategy can support the often-difficult task of building cross-campus collaboration toward accessibility efforts. Attendees will engage in group activities and discussions and develop a roadmap that identifies steps that they can take on their campus to more effectively drive shared responsibility toward accessibility efforts. Attendees will also get a behind the scenes look of how we built the DAG, leaving with ideas about how to implement their own accessibility dashboard.


  1. Critical leadership support and engagement will be driven by communicating the right data in the right way.
  2. Developing a comprehensive data collecting/reporting strategy is critical to support campus accessibility
  3. Attendees will learn to identify which data matters most in communicating accessibility needs to leadership

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Administrative/Campus Policy, Other, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Noelle Bareswilt

Noelle serves as the Program Director for Accessibility in the department of Digital Technology Solutions, University of Cincinnati's central IT group. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the accessibility review process for all of UC's third-party applications, websites, web applications, and faculty/staff facing documentation. Noelle manages a team of full-time and student testers and works with them on process improvement and continuous education.

As a co-chair of the Accessibility Network at UC, a cross-functional team of accessibility specialists across different roles, Noelle works to collaborate on different accessibility initiatives across campus and to create and communicate best practices for achieving accessibility.

Heidi Pettyjohn

As Executive Director, Heidi serves as the university’s Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Coordinator, as well as the ADA/Rehabilitation Act Coordinator.

She co-created and co-chairs the Accessibility Network at UC, a cross-functional team of offices that support and enhance the university’s capacity to deliver accessible electronic content.

Heidi has oversight of the Accessibility Resources offices on all UC campuses and the Communication and Digital Access Team, which provides ASL, CART, interpreting, accessible technology and other digital based accommodations to students, employees and guests.