Institutional Equity

Accessible Technology

Michigan Tech's Accessible Technology Working Group (ATWG) is in the process of developing a comprehensive policy and procedures regarding the accessibility of information and technology. The ATWG is charged with coordinating campus efforts to comply with federal accessibility laws and support Michigan Tech's commitment of providing its diverse community of students, faculty, staff, and visitors, including those with disabilities, with access to academic, research, and administrative programs and services via its information and communication technologies (ICT).

ATWG members:
Jeff Toorongian, William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning
Susan Sullivan, Institutional Equity
Joel Vertin, University Marketing and Communications
Andi Barajas, Vice President for Administration
Amy Blake, Information Technology
Heather Dunne, University Marketing and Communications
Karen Foltz, School of Business
Emmett Golde, Information Technology
Sue Hill, College of Engineering
Joan Hoffman, Financial Services and Operations
David Holden, J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library
Kirk McDonnell, Athletics
Sara Pingel, School of Business
Ian Repp, University Marketing and Communications
Megan Ross, University Marketing and Communications
Jenn Sams, J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library
Gina Lemay, Vice President for Research
Jena Hale, Information Technology
Dave Chard, Information Technology
Cayce Will, Office of Information Services
Karen Maki, Information Technology
Karen Siekas, Financial Services and Operations
Shane Sullivan, Merchandising Operations
Laura Bulleit, Dean of Students

Web Usability and Accessibility

Michigan Tech addresses web accessibility and usability together as websites are developed as guidelines, approaches, and end goals overlap significantly. Standards and best practices continually change, making this an ongoing effort.

Web Usability

Web usability centers around ease of use. A 'usable' website presents information and choices in a clear and concise way, eliminates ambiguity, represents elements in a consistent manner, and highlights the most important and commonly used information in easy-to-access places.

Usability is especially key in instances when websites render on devices with touch screens. It is important to take into account font, link, and tap target sizes that are large enough for a human finger to access easily. It is also important to control content layout, ensure that clickable items appear as such, and make sure that technology that is not mobile-friendly, such as Flash, is not used to display important information.

Through the use of a central content management system (CMS), Michigan Tech is able to standardize common web elements and promote usable design and code.

Web Accessibility

Web accessibility refers to the practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, coded, and maintained, all users have equal access to key information and functionality.

The overall design and structure of Michigan Tech's webpages are controlled through our CMS. We lay out page structures using HTML5 semantic markup, meaning that webpages render in a way that gives meaning to the content itself, and not on how it looks in a browser.

This approach makes the framework of our websites accessible to users with screen readers, text-based browsers, and other assistive devices. Their readers can distinguish what is the primary content (including headings, paragraphs, and links), navigation, headers, footers, and general asides.

Because our code follows proper semantics, our websites are able to meet WCAG 2.0 Level A conformance. W3C notes that is not recommended that Level AAA conformance be required as a general policy for entire sites because it is not possible to satisfy Level AAA success criteria for some content. As such, we begin with Level A conformance and strive to meet Level AA and/or AAA conformance for as many of our standardized web elements as possible.

Our web users with disabilities are able to use the tool(s) of their choice to browser our websites, ranging from desktop programs to online services to browser add-ons. We feel that this freedom is the best way to provide an inclusive web experience.


If you experience any web usability or accessibility issues or have suggestions for improvements, please contact Michigan Tech's Digital Services team at