IT Accessibility Challenge 2020: Launching a major accessibility campaign during a global pandemic

Handouts Media

Presented at 10:00am in Virtual D on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.



  • Terrill Thompson, Manager, IT Accessibility Team, University of Washington
  • Gaby de Jongh, Document Accessibility Specialist, Univ of Washington

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 45 minutes
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


This session will describe the IT Accessibility Challenge, a major tri-campus accessibility campaign launched at the University of Washington in May 2020, during the heart of the global pandemic. We will discuss the Challenge itself, marketing efforts, key partners, measures for determining whether it was a success, and lessons learned.


The University of Washington was the first university to move to a fully online model for teaching and work during the COVID-19 crisis. While still under stay-at-home orders in May 2020, we launched a major 6-month accessibility campaign named IT Accessibility Challenge 2020. The Challenge included 20 simple actions that faculty and staff can take to help make websites, online courses, digital documents, and videos more accessible. Individuals or departments/groups could participate by completing an online "Take the IT Accessibility Challenge" form, checking off which of the actions they would commit to during the campaign period. This was accompanied by simple instructions for each action, online trainings, remote work parties, an online list of participants, a suitable-for-framing Certificate of Participation, and an accessible online Bingo app. In this session, we will discuss the Challenge itself, marketing efforts, key partners, measures of success, and lessons learned.


  1. Unusual and uncertain times can be an opportunity.
  2. Successfully marketing an accessibility campaign depends on finding and engaging the right partners.
  3. Strategic communication planning is a key component to a successful campaign.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Administrative/Campus Policy, Faculty Development & Support, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Terrill Thompson

Terrill Thompson is manager of the IT Accessibility Team at the University of Washington.

Gaby de Jongh

Gaby de Jongh’s experience with Accessible Information Technology in Education has spanned over 18 years and has afforded her a solid understanding of Web Content Accessibility and how Operating Systems, hardware, software, and Assistive Technology work in tandem. She leads efforts across the University of Washington tri-campus area to increase awareness of Accessible Technology; she also provides training and expertise to create accessible electronic documents and how to remediate legacy documents. Gaby holds a certificate as an Adobe PDF Accessibility Trainer and is a partner on the Microsoft 365 Inclusive Workplace Council.