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Summary: Accessibility is everyone's everyday responsibility, and it brings both institutional and individual benefits.
Accessible IT is important and beneficial
Information accessibility is as important as information security. Just as the University meets federal law to protect privacy, information used by the University must meet accessibility policy, which includes:
- Use of web page design standards that provide access for all, including those with disabilities.
- Use of hardware and software products that promote universal design and access.
- Design and implementation of accessible technology-related work environments that accommodate all users.
Accessible information has benefits beyond equitability:
- Cost-savings. Maintaining clean, accessible code is less expensive.
- Improved search engine optimization. Accessible content is ranked higher is search results.
- Reduced institutional risk. Accessible IT minimizes the likelihood of costly lawsuits or complaints.
- Enriched research and scholarship. Diversity that includes the experiences of people with disabilities creates a more vibrant, rigorous University community.
Accessibility is everyone’s everyday responsibility
Accessibility is a human resource issue. There isn’t one office on campus who will make our assets accessible; we’re all responsible for doing our part.
For accessibility to happen at the U, leadership needs to make accessibility a priority in policy and resource allocation. Management needs to build accessibility into strategic plans. Where appropriate, employees’ workplans need to include accessibility. And everyone should practice by starting somewhere.
Start a conversation
Starting the conversation about accessibility in your unit is a great first step. You may have many people already skilled at the practice.
Additional help understanding and implementing accessibility best practices is available through the U of M Disability Resource Center.