Data Viz for Everyone: Live Accessibility Demos


Presented at 11:30am in Colorado F on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.



  • Mike Williamson, Assistant Director, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Marisha Lamont-Manfre, Accessibility and Usability Manager, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Emilie Young, Principal - User Experience, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Addie Hugen, Senior Accessibility Tester, University of Colorado Boulder

Session Details

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


Creating interactive data visualizations that are easy for all users, especially those who use assistive technology, is a daunting task. In this talk, we’ll go beyond colorblind palettes and dive deep into the issues. Join us for live demos where we'll navigate dashboards using assistive technology, so you can experience the challenges firsthand. You’ll leave with a better understanding of why this is such a hard problem and ideas to help make your dashboards more inclusive.


For this session, our goal is to showcase how current data visualization platforms miss key accessibility considerations and how our team has developed an initial proof of concept that addresses some of those concerns.

Using Tableau as an example, our team will show how we've taken the Tableau API into a Drupal environment to address accessibility concerns such as focus, form elements, and comprehension of datasets.

Using the JAWS screen reader, the presenters will demonstrate how a screen reader interacts within Tableau and the Drupal environment using the Tableau API. We will outline our work, where we'd like to go, and why the work is important to anyone interested in data visualizations.

We'll go beyond colorblind palettes and demonstrate the challenges of creating interactive data visualizations that are truly inclusive. Join us for a live demo where we'll navigate embedded data visualizations using a screen reader so that you experience the challenges firsthand. We'll demonstrate how our custom Drupal modules can convert the visualizations into webpages that work for everyone.

Attendees will: 1. Experience firsthand the challenges and frustrations faced by users of assistive technology when navigating websites. 2. Gain the knowledge necessary to educate stakeholders and teams about the accessibility issues inherent in web elements generated by third-party tools. 3. Be inspired to contribute to the development of inclusive solutions by leveraging Drupal's capabilities.

The session will be most valuable to attendees whose organizations make wide use of BI tools like Tableau. It will be illuminating to people who have the responsibility of making sites 'accessible' but who have never had the opportunity to work with a colleague who relies upon assistive technology. A basic understanding of HTML and extending Drupal using components would be helpful but not required for this session.


  1. Understanding the experience of end-users who use assistive technology can lead to changes in design.
  2. Information about accessibility issues inherent in web elements can help address and fix those issues.
  3. Providing accessible data visualizations is a difficult, but not impossible task.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Assistive Technology, Other, Uncategorized, Web/Media/App Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Mike Williamson

Mike has worked in the fields of accessibility, assistive technology (AT), and disability services for over 15 years. Mike has a Master of Science degree in Assistive Technology and Human Services from California State University Northridge. Throughout his career, Mike has worked as a certified assistive technology trainer, accessibility consultant, and director of a low vision and blindness support center.

Mike manages the digital accessibility assessment and usability activities within the Digital Accessibility Office, where he oversees accessibility testing, procurement, and consulting efforts. Mike also teaches multiple courses in accessibility and assistive technology at California State University, Northridge.

Marisha Lamont-Manfre

Marisha Lamont-Manfre is the Accessibility & Usability Assessment Manager in CU Boulder's Digital Accessibility Office. She coordinates the various stages of accessibility assessments and consulting work for the unit. Throughout her career, she has worked in accessibility services, assistive technology, and digital accessibility. Marisha received her BS in Mathematics from Regis University and her MA in Research and Evaluation Methods from UC Denver. She is currently in the Ph.D. program for Research and Evaluation Methods at UC Denver.

Emilie Young

Emilie helps create simple and effective user experiences around complex data. She’s been working in the field of UX for over 25 years and has worked with all size companies from Fortune 500’s to start-ups. She was the lead developer on the first spelling corrector and was a member of the original team at SUN which developed the Java programming language. She has 3 patents and has taught at CU, Stanford, SIGGRAPH and SIGCHI. Before coming to ODA, she worked at OIT helping to launch CU’s online degree program in partnership with Coursera. Emilie has an MS in Computer Science from CU Boulder and a BS in Computer Science from Catholic University.

Addie Hugen

Addie is CU Boulder's lead accessibility tester. Along with testing digital products, Addie provides consultation and design support across campus.