Practical Policy Change Strategies:
Infusing Web Accessibility
into the
Organizational Environment
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Personal Information
Information & Accessibility Specialist
Client Advocacy Office
Libraries, Computing & Technology
Michigan State University
316A Computer Center
East Lansing MI 48824
517/355-4500 Ext. 244
[email protected]
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Educational & Professional Background
 Business Administration, A.B. Lansing Community College
 Communication, B. A. Michigan State University
 Educational Administration, M. A. Michigan State University
Meijer, Inc. - 15 years
 Systems Monitor, Authorized Cashier
Michigan State University - 20 years
 Accounting, Publications, Project Management, Communications, Web Accessibility
 Department of Zoology, 1984-1989
 Department of Agricultural Engineering, 1989 - 1991
 Vice Provost for Libraries, Computing & Technology, 1991 - 2001
 Client Advocacy Office, 2001 - 2004
 10 years in Web Project Management
 MSU Central Web Site
 Executive Level Web Sites:
 Board of Trustees and President’s
 Vice President for Governmental Affairs
 Academic Governance
 MSU Representative to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility
Initiative (WAI)
 American College Professional Association (ACPA) Standing Committee on Disability
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
“Campus-Wide Web Accessibility Initiative: Infusion of Web Accessibility into the Computing Environment”, 2002.Submitted as
part of the Budget Process (APP&R).
"Accessible Web Sites: Why They're Important and Where to Begin", About Campus Journal of the American
College Personnel Association (ACPA). March-April 2002/Vol 7, No. 1. Co-Authors: Charmane K. Corcoran and
Shawn D. Corcoran.
"Accessible Web Page Principles" (Release Date: 02/01/01) Compiled for the ACPA Standing Committee on
"The Intersection of Technology and Organizational Culture" published in Student Affairs On-Line, Fall 2000: Vol.
1, No. 3., Dr. Daniel Salter, Editor. Printer friendly version:
"System Changes Invite A Second Look at Organizational Assumptions: Communication Styles Effect
Organizational Implementations" February 1997 Center for Educational Networking Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 5.
CEN is funded by a Michigan Department of Education Office of Special Education Services State Initiated Project
Grant Awarded to Eaton Intermediate School District in Michigan.
"Communication, Technology, and Multicultural Aspects of Teams and Organizational Leadership" 1996. Article. Part of the on-line version of a larger work: "The Leaderful Approach...An Information Resource for
Leaders and Team Builders".
"System Solvency and Inreach" November 13, 1993 - Contribution to MSU President McPherson's request
for input regarding the formation of the MSU Guiding Principles.
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
W3C Resources
Quick Tips
Translations of Quick Tips
Policies relating to Web Accessibility
How People with Disabilities Use the Web
W3C Translations Listed by Languages
Evaluation and Repair Tools
Alternative Web Browsing
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
A braille handout was distributed and participants were
asked the several questions about the handout (next slide).
This allowed each participant to experience inaccessible
media first hand.
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
1. What went through your mind when you
were passed the handout?
2. How did you feel about the situation?
3. What would you have to do if you wanted
to share the handout with anyone who
needed the information on the handout?
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
The Last Straw
A straw was handed out to each
participant. Each was asked to
close one eye and read some text
with the other eye while looking
through the straw. The same
questions were asked as in the
previous slide.
This demonstration graphically
shows how web accessibility is
not just about people who are
blind. There are a number of other
disabilities that affect Web use.
Compliments to Shawn Lawton-Henry, W3C
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Who is Affected by My Choices?
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Meanings & Principles
Meanings are *In* People
What Accessible and Usable
Means Depends on the User
i.e. Ask several people what
they think of when they
hear the word “cap”.
W3C Guidelines help us
Design for the…
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
“Infusing" Policy
Infuse - Tea is Infused by…
1. Introduce the Tea to the Water
2. Let it Steep - Allow time for the Color to
Merge with the Water
3. Stir in Cream and Sugar, if Desired
4. Enjoy
Infuse - Policy is Infused by…
1. Introduce the Policy to the Organization involving the Organization in Policy
2. Let it Steep - Allow time to have the Policy be
Absorbed by the Organization
3. Tweak the Procedures to Accommodate the
Policy - Add Training and Companion Web
Development Tools and Structures
4. Enjoy the Positive Benefits
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Infusing Policy: Gaining Organizational Compliance
and Creating an Environment for Accessible Design
Assistive Technology Advisory Committee
Access to Jaws in all Microlabs
Web Accessibility Web Site
Representation on the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative
SBC Lecturer (formerly Ameritech Lecturer)
LCTTP Classes - Web Accessibility
Incremental Plan for Accessibility Testing across the
Organization - “Infusion of Web Accessibility into the University Computing
Environment”, Corcoran 2002
 Research and Discussion of Existing External Policies and
 Developing the Statement of Encouragement
 Development of LIFT Profiles
 LCTTP Classes Integrating Web Accessibility across the
 Accessibility and Usability Lab
 Accessibility and Usability Conference
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
MSU Statement of Encouragement
The World Wide Web is playing an expanding role in
communication, education, and community-building.
Michigan State University is committed to maximizing ability
and opportunity for full participation by persons with
Students, faculty, staff, and organizational units producing
content for the World Wide Web are strongly encouraged to
apply principles of Web accessibility as set forth by the World
Wide Web Consortium wherever possible in the design and
implementation, and in the renewal or replacement, of their
Web content.
Programs and services offered over the World Wide Web that
do not meet Web accessibility standards must offer
comparable non-Web based programs and services for
qualified individuals with disabilities.
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Infusing versus Mandating Policy
“Central to MSU's Approach is that Organizations Need
to be Mindful of Practical Approaches to Policy
Introduction or Change. Our Interest in Our Statement of
Encouragement Approach Over an Approach of a Policy
Regarding Accessibility Standards is that the Latter
would have Mandated, or had the appearance of
Mandating, Changes to all University Web Pages.
Mandating is Impractical in Terms of Staff Resources and
Expense. Instead, We have Stated the Value and
Importance We Place on Accessibility, and Continue to
Work to Get People to Improve the Accessibility of Web
Design at Every Opportunity.”
David Gift
Vice Provost for Libraries, Computing & Technology
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Story of the Little Boy
Several times a little boy was
directed by his parent to sit down
rather than stand on his chair. Each
time the boy refused. Finally, he sat
down but proclaimed defiantly, “I may
be sitting on the outside but I am
standing up on the inside.”
My conclusion is that mandating
policy will trigger this kind of
response. Infusing avoids triggering
this kind of response when
introducing new policies.
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Makes Sense to Us
Infusing policy into an
organization is not
mandating change on the
outside. Instead, it is
laying a framework for a
change in the way we
think about and do our
work so that we can elect
to do the right thing
because it makes sense
to us.
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Promote a Project Design Process with Accessibility
and Usability from the Beginning of the Design Project
 Repairing Web Sites is More Costly in Time and Effort
 Design with the Broadest Possible Audience in Mind at the
Beginning Avoids the Cost of Repairing or Redesigning Later
 When this is an Organizational Value, Everyone Wins
 The Organization Saves Money in the Design and Maintenance of Web
 Employees as well as External Users have a Greater Ease in Using Your
 Extends Market Reach to Untapped Segments
 Gain a Positive Reputation for Social Responsibility and Valuable Market
Share by Word-of-Mouth
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Myth Busting
It is possible to create an accessible and usable site
with an aesthetically pleasing design.
Design for the “broadest possible audience” not just
people who are blind
Design aesthetically pleasing sites can be accessible
and useable
Refrain from using Text only pages - they are NOT
desired by people who have disabilities
Designers and Web Coders need to understand each
other’s work and cooperate from the beginning of the
project in a way that factors in accessibility and usability
in every phase of the project.
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Practical Balance
There is a bottom limit to central computing support that needs to be set
institutionally. (This is the practical, business side.) Within that
framework, we aspire to make our sites as accessible as possible.
At the same time, we attempt to make the visual presentation as appealing
as possible while supporting internal institutional guidelines on the use of
logos etc.
These elements do not have to be mutually exclusive or
preclude us from using W3C Web Accessibility
standards. Our institutional “Statement of
Encouragement” states that all new and updated sites
will be created using the W3C Web Accessibility
standards as much as possible.
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Assumptions Related Core Values
within the Institution
“Most organizational systems today are in the midst
of change, implementing teams, planning new
organizational systems or introducing new forms of
technology. Creating shared meaning and
vision is at the crux of successful
organizational change.” (Corcoran 2000)
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Affecting the Culture of the Organization
Implementing Web Accessibility and
Usability features will inevitably affect the
culture of the organization.
What will we value?
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
“The Intersection of
Technology and Organizational Culture”
“Implementation of new technology forces change. We adopt
new technologies to enhance our core work functions, affecting
related policies, administrative functions, and inevitably every
component of the organization. For educational institutions, this
outcome is due in part to pressures to integrate technology for
teaching and learning, and to provide related services and training
for faculty, staff, and students. With this all-consuming project comes
the need to protect privacy and intellectual property, ensure data
integrity, and maintain civility on the Internet and in the organization.
The transforming power of technology goes beyond the "what
we do" to the "who we are" as individuals and as an
organization.” (Corcoran 2000)
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
“The Intersection of Technology and Organizational
Culture” Continued
“Implementation of new technology is perpetual, affecting
decision-making on multiple levels. Organizational culture
and the type of leadership exercised have significant
impact on how we respond to change and technology
implementation strategies. The answer to "What are we
as leaders going to attend to?" has a significant effect
on organizational culture.”
“When we focus only on the technology without
attending to cultural and personal elements, we fail in
both arenas. Constant flux has become the nature of
technology and our organizations. Where the decisionmaking processes are attentive to the people-side and
cross-functional nature of all endeavors, our viability is
enhanced. It also facilitates compliance when initiating
new technology and the related policies. (Corcoran 2000)
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
“The Intersection of Technology and Organizational
Culture” (Corcoran 2000) Continued
James O'Toole (1996) said:
“ . . . treating people with respect is what moral leadership
is about, and nothing could be harder. But when there is
organizational or social necessity for change, nothing
can be more practical. “
Peter Block (1993) spoke of stewardship as a central
value to leadership:
“Part of the meaning of stewardship is to hold in trust the
well-being of some larger entity - our organizations, our
community, . . . placing service ahead of control . . .
There is humility in stewardship, it evokes images of
service. Service is central to the idea of stewardship. (p.
41) ”
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
“The Intersection of Technology and Organizational
Culture” (Corcoran 2000) Continued
“To communicate the value of web accessible design at the
institutional level, it is necessary to have some formal adoption of
intent. The institution needs to intend to make sites accessible or
accessible web design will never occur. In addition to institutional
intent, there must be shared understanding of that intent.”
“This is where stewardship and true leadership comes in. It is one
thing to create a list of rules to follow. It is entirely different to attend
to how we communicate about those rules and how the principles will
be implemented while keeping the needs of real people in mind. It is
good to provide accessible websites for those with disabilities. It is
good to provide websites that are accessible for those with lower end
browsers and hardware. What is even more precious to the
organization is how those who do the work and those who oversee the
institution are able to absorb the core principles of accessibility.”
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Organizational Communication
All this requires communication with the organization as a
whole. Not just a select few. That communication of core values
requires several things:
 Executive and administrative support
 Providing examples of successful sites
 Providing resource information for administrators and web
 Providing training resources for web coders and graphic
 Providing validation resources and information for web
 Providing contact people for troubleshooting
 Have easy access to tools, information, institutional
 Having and actively pursuing a plan for infusing web
accessibility into the computing environment of the
organization Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
If we attend to the "who", we will better be
able to handle the "do".
As significant technology issues develop and
new technology services evolve, adopting a
stewardship frame contributes significantly to
the success of our institutions, allowing us to
better represent and serve our diverse
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Impact on How We Do Our
Work - The Project Team
These things address the organizational culture and the
campus computing environment, but what about the web
development team. How do these organizational
assumptions translate into the development
environment? Can we foster a team that can “think,
create, and code” accessibility in a cooperative way?
Can the trade offs become challenges that inspire
innovation? The Client Advocacy Office (CAO) Web
Development team addressed those issues.
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Developing the Relationship between the Web
Coder and the Graphic Designers
To provide a voice for accessibility in our computing environment, we need
to ensure that the institutional assumptions about accessibility are
fully factored into our organization, providing awareness throughout
the process of design, implementation, measurement, and evaluation.
Web coders and web designers in the past have been in the middle of
the tug of war between accessible coding and a visually pleasing web
design. Often the need for accessibility seemed to limit the flexibility of the
graphic designer.
It was much like accountants and computer geeks in the 1980’s. They
didn’t know how to talk to each other. Few people understood both
professional “languages” so there was little crossover technology.
Nowadays, the computer people and the accounting people have lots of
cross-over software that is even user-friendly for people who know
neither profession but want to balance their personal financial accounts.
The same metamorphosis can begin to occur with web coders and
graphic designers.
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Developing the Relationship between the Web
Coder and the Graphic Designers (Continued)
We need to communicate to individual clients why we function
under the assumptions we have and that success cannot be
measured by anything less.
Setting up a web development team is those assumptions are
equally important. When we attempt to set up a team that does
accessible design, we need to assure that we acknowledge the
impact that accessibility will have on the institution, the team,
and the clients they serve.
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
The Challenge
Learn about accessibility and how to develop a
website that maximized accessibility while
creating a pleasant look
 Learn how your skills must work with the other
person’s skills to accomplish that task
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Some of the Things Learned
Graphic Designer’s Comments
(Vincent Corcoran)
 General Comments
Learn about accessibility
Understand web coding parameters for accessibility
Learn and understand you/graphics designer are the most important
and the least important - If you don’t do your job, there is no draw to
the site
At the same time - you just make pictures, i.e. Painting a new house
Do design to fit how things work, i.e. Compress images - save for
the web. - Think ahead.
Be flexible
Communication - Honesty
When you have to wait for the approval structure and you know you
can put up a site in less than 8 hours - Can do anything in a day and
make it better
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Some of the Things Learned
(Graphic Designer Cont.)
Know what is possible
Just changing colors isn’t an easy item necessarily
Ability to see, from the coders point of view ,what it will take
to make your image expandable
Each member of the team be able to see from the other
members point of view
Tweaking is the “norm” - Not a perfect final design on first
Each person knowing their program well - PhotoShop, MX,
Illustrator. i.e. Save for web...was afraid to do that
Project Manager/editor - who is in charge should have a
basic understanding of both sides of the coin
Establish a Project plan - a general way to do things
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Some of the Things Learned
(Graphic Designer Cont.)
Design (Cont.)
Talk to the client
3 options distinct, critique
Text stuff still part of the process
Could use one more person for content:
Graphics designer, web coder, and a content handler
Cover with client how to prepare their documents - lost
 Evaluation
Designing graphics that will pass
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Some of the Things Learned
Web Coder’s Comments
 General Comments
(Justin Thorp)
Be flexible
Pace of person on the other end might not be the same
Communication remotely is different
Balancing all the components - when added graphics add so
much more to the sight (personal experience)
Dealing with clients
Make sure everyone understands the process it takes to do
the other person’s job
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Some of the Things Learned
(Web Coder Cont.)
 Design
 Thinking about others who might be looking at the site - short
sighted to assume everyone sees what you see I.e. Someone
may be looking at it 2 a.m. In the morning and lacking alertness,
aging eye sight, not just blindness
 Concept of the whole process up front, what the roles are
 Aesthetics & Usability
 Functional - if it doesn’t look good, no one will want to visit the
 Easier to work with Vincent because we now share the same
 Learning to be creative once a graphic is designed - translate it
into coding that will work - Be crazy creative
 Learn the system of the organization, chain of command and
approval structure, logos can be used a certain way
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Some of the Things Learned
(Web Coder Cont.)
 Evaluation
Respond, be straight forward
Understand that people have to have information
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
MSU’s Web Accessibility Site
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Infusing Web Accessibility and Usability
into an Organization: Summary
This presentation includes one approach to changing an
organization’s computing environment in order to support
institutional priorities for accessible web development. We
highlighted the use of communication, use of existing services and
equipment, expanding the function of existing microlabs for
accessibility testing, training of web developers as well as events to
provide a basic awareness for executives and administrators. We
discussed the importance of assumptions at the macro and micro
level of the institution and web development team. We shared
personal experiences to demonstrate how institutional assumptions
about accessibility and instituting accessible web development
approaches can precipitate a learning environment that fosters
innovation in accessible coding and design.
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran
Discussion/Q & A
Copyright 2004 - Charmane K. Corcoran

PowerPoint Presentation - Practical Policy Change …