University News

Web Accessibility a Priority

November 28, 2011

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- With the increased use of videos to convey information and to promote programs, events and activities, Western Illinois University faculty, staff, students, as well as departments and organizations, are reminded that any video content posted on Western's official YouTube channel, a WIU web page or an official University Facebook page must be captioned as required by the mandated Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA).

Prior to the act's implementation in August 2007, Western was ahead of the game by establishing a Web Accessibility Committee to ensure that all users could access WIU-sponsored sites.

"Western uses the web to enhance the educational experience and to communicate University information. We are committed to ensuring that information and resources provided are accessible to all students, faculty, staff and visitors," noted Andrea Henderson, director of equal opportunity and access and accessibility committee co-chair.

The IITAA requires that all information -- including videos -- presented on public universities official websites made available to the public or that are required to be viewed by state employees is accessible to individuals with disabilities. According to Henderson and Richard Chamberlain, accessibility committee co-chair and University Technology user support executive director, this means all videos appearing on official WIU sites (YouTube, Facebook and web pages) must be captioned to meet IITAA compliance standards.

"There are several free and easy-to-use captioning software options available to the WIU community," Chamberlain added. "The Office of Equal Opportunity and Access and Web Support Services, as well as University Relations, can provide assistance and guidance. A captioning pool has been developed so the resources are there to help our departments and individuals comply with these necessary standards. There are also a variety of resources available on WIU's accessibility website at"

Captioning assistance can be obtained by contacting Don Bowen, Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, at (309) 298-1977.

For more information, contact Henderson at (309) 298-1977 or or Chamberlain at (309) 298-4500 or

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Office of University Relations