Virtual IT Accessibility Lab looking for new members as part of ITS Strategic Plan

Andrea Childress

Assistant VP, CIO of Information Technology Services

Over the past year, faculty, staff, students and the community have been working with campus leaders and partners to strategize big ideas that identify areas the University of Nebraska is good at – and where we can be great. Areas that transform lives for our students and the community.

As part of that Big Ideas Initiative and in collaboration with Chancellor Kristensen, Information Technology Services is working on its next ITS Strategic Plan. After consultation across campus, two areas for 2019-20 came into focus: student affordability and accessibility.

Related to the concept of accessibility, one of the Big Ideas initiatives for ITS in 2019-20 is calling for individuals to join a Virtual IT Accessibility Lab. The lab will help promote policy and IT accessibility, as well as proactively test and watch how users interact with software and websites to help improve the experience and make UNK the best place to be a student.

IT Accessibility involves working collaboratively with campus technology and communication professionals to remain committed to the creation and dissemination of accessible content. This includes working together with system and campus stakeholders to provide direction and guidance on accessibility in areas that include:

  • Policy and Governance
  • Tools, Resources and Guidelines
  • Web and Mobile Design
  • Procurement and Purchasing Guidelines
  • Training and Professional Development

The virtual lab will primarily focus on testing web and mobile design, as well as promotion and education of IT Accessibility. The lab will include an advisory board consisting of 10-15 members, working group, stakeholder committee with liaisons from different audiences and distribution of newsletters and other communication.

To nominate someone for the advisory board, working group or liaison committee, visit the ITS Big Ideas Nomination and Signup Form.

Descriptions of the Groups and Roles

Advisory Board – The Advisory Board may include members from ITS, but it will also include others from our campus communities, accessibility service offices at each campus and members of the community. In our commitment to accessibility, the IT Accessibility Advisory Board will guide future efforts related to ICT procurement, resources and tools, policy and campus support. The board will meet quarterly, establish liaisons and guide the working group team to assess, review and work together to make technology more accessible at the University of Nebraska.

Working Group – The Working Group will include the most technical people, or those with accessibility expertise and experience. If you have knowledge of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, can help perform audits or understand usability and end-user testing, we want you.

The working group team consists of passionate developers, designers and content professionals who understand accessibility and can test and assess technology either through heuristic reviews or user experience testing. We will also ask members from within and outside ITS who use assistive technology to join us. Campus offices will be nominating and asking individuals to help as well.

Liaisons – The Liaisons and Community News group is for everyone. It will be a larger stakeholder committee with liaisons from different audiences across UNK and the University of Nebraska System. People can sign up for newsletters, list serves and other forms of communication, or act as a liaison if they choose.

For questions or more information, feel free to contact me at 308-865- 8789, or email us at You can also find more information at the IT Accessibility page.

– Andrea Childress is UNK’s Assistant Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Information Technology Services.