Welcoming responsibility

Guzman undertook integral role in improving website accessibility

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Senior engineering major Joshua Guzman has been a student worker for the Walla Walla University Marketing and University Relations (MUR) department for the last three years. As web content editor, he helped communicate important, accurate data from each department through the website. In recent years, Guzman took on additional responsibility to help navigate the challenges of improving the university website’s accessibility based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

WWU works to be accessible to everyone visiting campus or utilizing digital university content; most of the tools used to meet ADA standards already existed in WWU’s content management system, but they required some adjustments. Guzman began learning to use WWU website’s built-in disability accommodations to create closed captions for videos, check alternative text or written descriptions for images, and ensure content was compatible for screen readers. MUR creative manager Jennifer Buyco says Guzman showed “a great attention to detail, was willing to help out with anything, and was comfortable working independently as well as collaboratively,” making him a perfect fit for the tasks. 

To prioritize these digital improvements, Guzman worked alongside a team of various administration, IT, and marketing faculty—even as a student employee, he served as a valuable and trusted member. This pushed him to develop effective communication with various people coming from different areas of expertise. 

To ensure ADA compliance was a team effort, Guzman initially focused on training  other website editors to meet ADA standards, and testing training materials and tools developed by others on the team. This meant that Guzman had to first become an expert in both digital ADA compliance and the WWU content management system. He also stepped up to clearly communicate those meticulous details to people across campus. He says his later task—finding, checking, and updating every obscure web page and PDF file—was the largest challenge he faced. The work required patience and close attention, but his results were invaluable, benefiting every WWU website user. 

Digital ADA compliance is an important aspect for any business with an online presence. Guzman’s work on this project, and many others, has helped develop important technical and communication skills that his engineering curriculum would not otherwise have included. It also provided invaluable job experience and connections across campus that may benefit him in the future.

Many other WWU students are essential team players for various on-campus departments, allowing students to reduce student debt, build their resume, and earn valuable real-world skills and experience. For more information about student employment, go to wallawalla.edu/student-employment.

Posted July 2, 2024

Portrait of Joshua Guzman