3. Know what’s in store for the future.

“We’re about 10 years away from general accessibility for any students with any software,” said Vinten-Johansen, “and that has a lot to do with the current in-development Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) by Raising the Floor.”

Mobile app accessibility should also be on higher-ed’s IT radar, though mobile apps “tend to be more accessible than web or desktop versions,” said Robbins.

W3C is working on an extension to WCAG 2.0 that includes mobile apps outside the web,” said Vinten-Johansen. “Institutions will be able to use this extension and apply it to modify web policy toward mobile apps.”

As more institutions move to cloud-based technology versus campus-hosted tech, panelists said accessibility issues are usually handled in a more timely manner, since vendors have a faster development cycle. However, “it’s critical that the vendor allow your institution time to test before the next rollout,” said Zirkle.

“The risk that institutions may have in moving to the cloud comes down to broken code often associated with major upgrades and quick-to-market rollouts,” concluded Vinten-Johansen. “It’s a risk because without a beta version to test drive, you have to rely on people to report problems to you post-deployment. So be sure your department can test before rollout.”

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