The University of Alicante has launched the new Digital Accessibility Unit whose objective is the promotion, awareness and training in the field of digital accessibility and accessible technologies.
The presentation ceremony was chaired by rector, Manuel Palomar, who has highlighted the “firm commitment of the University of Alicante to end digital barriers”. In this sense, Palomar has pointed out that the new unit, which depends directly on the Rector’s Office, “reflects the effort that has been made in the institution in recent years through the Accessible Technologies Laboratory through which numerous initiatives have been generated that have served to to get better notably the access to teaching students with some kind of disability”. The rector also pointed out that “with this step we intend to give new impetus to our commitment to build a socially responsible and accessible university for all groups”. “We are an inclusive university,” he remarked.
The UA has already converted its website into accessible, taking into account various parameters such as the font, size, colors, possibility to enlarge and reduce texts and explanation of images to improve readability and comprehension. It has even been arranged that no element has more than three flashes per second to avoid possible epileptic seizures. It also incorporates a loudspeaker button so that the contents of a large part of the information available on the web can be heard, a functionality that will be progressively expanded.
The director of the Secretariat for Employment and Student Support, Pepi Parreño, explained that the “purpose is break digital barriers, create guidelines for the development of accessible digital content, advise and train to the university community in the use of accessible technologies and to detect entrepreneurial opportunities through research on accessibility, as well as the creation of communication channels for their dissemination “and has pointed out that” when we talk about accessibility we think exclusively about Disability and this it is totally wrong. We have all suffered a problem when carrying out a telematic procedure for not having this or another browser “and has sentenced” accessibility is for everyone. ”
Parreño has highlighted that the University of Alicante is “a reference at national level in terms of accessibility “and that” represents the CRUE in the working group on student accessibility, we are advisers of the ONCE Foundation, members of the Communication and ICT Group of the network of Support Services for People with Disabilities in Spanish Universities (SAPDU) and also collaborators of the Ministry of Education to carry out accessible document courses and inclusive education in schools, institutes and guidance centers ”.
For his part, the person in charge of Digital Accessibility at the UA, José María Fernández, has detailed the main functions entrusted to the new Digital Accessibility Unit of the University of Alicante, which focus on ensuring adequate management and attention to inquiries, suggestions, communications, complaints and requests for accessible information received; attend and respond to claims made by users due to lack of accessibility of the University’s websites and mobile applications; coordinate periodic accessibility reviews; coordinate and encourage promotion, awareness and training activities on accessibility; and make annual reports to the CRUE.
Fernández also explained the services offered by the unit such as advice, training and responding to the needs of users through the Accessible Technologies Laboratory, “a fundamental tool to advance in the innovation and integration education that is part of the new unit ”. In the Digital Accessibility Unit you can find all kinds of accessible resources, applications developed at the University of Alicante to facilitate accessibility in the classroom and outside of it, guides to accessible technologies and even a blog dedicated to accessible technologies.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.