Accessibility is everyone's everyday work, and no matter your role at the University, you can influence the adoption and implementation of digital accessibility. All you have to do is start small. For example, choose one of the seven core skills and practice, or join an accessibility group on campus. Make a commitment to help create a more inclusive University community for all.
Importance of Your Role
Our Shared Responsibility
The University of Minnesota is committed to the idea that accessibility is everyone's everyday work. Part of accessibility is being accountable to each other and understanding that disability is widespread and, often, invisible. Writing and designing inclusively requires us to consider that each of us is at one particular point on a spectrum of ability. When you design digital communications, products, and spaces in inclusive ways from the beginning, more people will be able to participate.
Understand the Impact
The immediate University community includes students, faculty, and staff. The wider University community, as defined by our land-grant mission, includes the people of Minnesota and beyond. This all-encompassing University community includes people with a range of disabilities such as:
- Mental health conditions (depression, bipolar disorder)
- Learning disorders (dyslexia)
- Physical health conditions (mobility and motor impairments)
- Sensory-related disabilities (deaf or hard of hearing, blind or low-vision)
Additionally, the impacts of disability vary from person to person:
- A chart that uses only color to represent data doesn’t convey its message to a colleague who is color blind.
- The audio in the video you play in class may not be accessible to a student with an auditory processing disorder.
- The website you create might not allow a blind person using screen reader software to access your information or message.
Make a Commitment
Make a commitment to help create a more inclusive University community.
All you have to do is start small. For example, choose one of the 7 core skills and practice, or join an accessibility group on campus. No matter your role, you can influence the adoption and implementation of digital accessibility at the University.
- Community awareness. Build a community of people who practice accessibility in their work. Ask questions about accessibility in your work teams. Learn about accessibility principles. Organize trainings for your colleagues.
- Influence up toward institutional commitment. Ask how accessibility aligns with your unit’s strategic goals and guiding principles. Ask your supervisor about making accessibility part of your everyday work. Ask your managers how you can help them make accessibility a priority. Make it easy for them to say yes. Join the UMN Digital Accessibility group to learn from others on campus who are practicing this work.
- Acceptance and adoption. Start small! Practice what you learn. Help others appreciate the value and importance of digital accessibility.
- Workflows. Make accessibility part of your workflow. For example, when you make a video, write a script, and use it as your transcript to create captions.
- Access to resources and experts. Actively seek out the knowledge and expertise you need to get started. Many tools, tutorials, guides, and people are available to help you.
- Laws and policies. Know what's expected of your institution and of your contributions to a more Accessible U.