Campus: CSU Fresno -- August 7, 2002

Fresno State Takes Leading Role in Promoting Web Accessibility

Staff members from two California State University, Fresno offices have teamed up to write, produce and film a video on Web accessibility that features personal insights from disabled students who are Web users.

The video, “Web Accessibility – Access For All,” is the first of its kind in the California State University system and was funded by the CSU to provide the 23 campuses with an introduction and resources to help start solving access problems.

The project was conceived and coordinated by Candace Lee Egan, Fresno State’s Web manager, and Ruth Saludes, publications and publicity coordinator of the Services for Students with Disabilities office. The video was produced through a grant from the CSU Center for Distributed Learning and Community of Academic Technology Staff.

The 10-minute VHS video, which is being distributed this month to CSU campuses, is available to any government or commercial group, said Egan.

“The video is aimed at the university community because we have such a broad public that uses our Web sites, but the user experiences and techniques recommended apply to any Web site,” said Egan.

In addition to discussing the importance of Web accessibility, the video features four Fresno State students with disabilities who explain and demonstrate the problems they face in accessing the Web. Students with various disabilities (deaf, blind, limited vision and limited mobility) offer insights to Web designers and faculty on how to make Web pages accessible.
Shee Yee Xiong, a blind student, said that a screen-reading software program that reads the page on the screen is essential for him.

“Without that, I could not use the Web at all,” he said.

Egan said the awareness campaign on the need for Web accessibility is still in the early stages nationwide. But as Web designers and software companies become aware of the issues, sites are being designed or redesigned to improve accessibility.

California State University, Fresno’s main Web page, www.csufresno.edu is undergoing redesign and has been made more accessible, Egan said.

Copies of “Web Accessibility – Access for All” may be ordered at www.csufresno.edu/webaccess/video.htm. Also available is a presenter’s guide, PowerPoint files and outlines for workshops and presentations to groups.

Fresno State has received a new grant to produce a second, follow-up video. It will feature disabled students with detailed demonstrations of the software they use and the problems they encounter. It will be released in September.

For more information on Fresno State’s Web accessibility efforts or a copy of the video, contact Egan at (559) 278-5070 or candace@csufresno.edu.

Press Contact: Shirley Melikian Armbruster (559) 278-2795


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