Implementing Accessibility at Your Institution – Lessons Learned at the University of Alabama


Presented at 9:15am in WB I on Friday, November 18, 2016.



  • Rachel Thompson, Director, Emerging Technology and Accessibility, University of Alabama
  • Jason Crossett, Accessibility Consultant/Account Manager, SSB BART Group

Session Details

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


This session focuses on the planning and implementation of a web accessibility initiative at a large, public institution where a diverse and decentralized web landscape offers challenges for implementing accessibility evaluation, reporting, and training approaches.


The University of Alabama has adopted WCAG 2.0 AA as its web accessibility guidelines and is making progress toward meeting them. Some of the interesting facets of this implementation have included the need to evaluate web team readiness to adopt WCAG 2.0 AA and discern each team’s needs regarding accessibility evaluation. Rolling out accessibility testing and reporting in phases and determining appropriate examples and best practices for each audience have been vital in implementing our accessibility evaluation and reporting platform. It has also been essential to develop and deliver appropriate training to campus stakeholders, including helping them distinguish when which types of testing are needed. Reporting on accessibility progress is another important aspect of this plan. Much effort has gone into helping campus web developers and content managers produce the reports they need, as well as crafting useful audit reports for various stakeholders.


  1. Understand the needs of diverse web teams with regard to accessibility evaluation and reporting.
  2. Recognize when various types of testing, examples, and best practices can be most useful.
  3. Determine how differences in reporting responsibilities, structures & requirements can affect a11y progress

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Mobility, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy, Legal, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Rachel Thompson

Dr. Rachel S. Thompson is Director of Emerging Technology and Accessibility at the University of Alabama. While still new to technology accessibility, she has worked with instructional technology since 2007. Her PhD in Applied Linguistics was received in 2004. She has taught college-level linguistics, dialectology, Spanish, composition, and Honors courses. Rachel enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, listening to her better half make music, and writing biographies of herself.

Jason Crossett

Jason Crossett is an Accessibility Consultant and Account Manager for SSB Bart Group, the world’s leading digital accessibility company. He has been working in higher education and technology for the last 16 years and holds degrees in Education and English Literature. He is passionate about helping to make teaching and learning technology accessible to everybody. His other passions include coaching football and skiing.


The University of Alabama Web Accessibility Progress