Ally Implementation for Accessiblity

Ally is a product for accessibility that we are using at the University of Illinois (UIC) to ensure our content is accessible to all people, regardless of disability. A pilot was implemented in fall 2019 and included instructional designers from all colleges with faculty and students to test it out. Ally uses machine learning algorithms to check uploaded documents and makes suggestions for how to improve them.

Here is an example of what instructors and instructional designers see when they use Ally to check their documents.

The odometer to the left of each item reflects the level of accessibility. Green means a document is accessible, while orange and red mean it is not accessible.

In this example, Ally tells us that the PowerPoint slide deck that was uploaded is missing descriptions for many images in the deck. The red box around the image helps the instructor or instructional designer to take action and provide a description.

It was implemented in 2020 after a lengthy pilot period in 2019 and has been instrumental in order to ensure our materials are accessible. It requires continuous faculty development as well as working closely with coordinators, as they are usually the ones uploading documents, especially as there are enhancements to it.

Here is some information about the Ally File Transformer: https://it.uic.edu/ally-file-transformer/.

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