Accessibility Update

Orange SUccess logo

Accessibility Update October 8, 2017

The Office of Disability Services continues to support both blind and visually impaired students, staff, and faculty.  ODS counselors actively engage in outreach efforts regarding potential IT access issues. If students, faculty and or staff experience issues with Orange SUccess, they will receive one-on-one training or assistance to mitigate barriers.  In addition, here are some of the proactive measures that they have taken:

  1. User testing with blind and low vision users: Michael Grattan, who was referred by the Commission for the Blind, was recently hired and is a user of multiple assistive technologies including Jaws, Voice Over, and NVDA.
  2. Michael will coordinate with SU’s accessibility analyst, Sharon Trerise and conduct regular accessibility reviews (faculty and student roles) and communicate their finding to Hobsons. 
  3. Aaron Hodukavich, Director and ADA/503/504 Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, Resolutions Services is also a contact for staff and faculty if they encounter any accessibility issues. 

Hobsons, the firm that provides the Orange SUccess system, has been highly responsive in prioritizing repairs to aspects of the product that create challenges for our disabled users. We have several avenues for obtaining feedback from users about accessibility issues, and we immediately refer these issues to Hobsons and ask them to prioritize the improvements.

Our regression testing on the most recent upgrade revealed some issues and we are doing our absolute best to get Hobsons to correct them. We cannot provide guarantees that everything works for everyone every time, however, Sharon Trerise continues to meet with the accessibility personnel at Hobsons to correct all issues which have been reported to us.  We do not compel faculty members to use any particular piece of technology. Faculty members who wish to report that a student has never attended a class, but who prefer not to use the university’s designated systems can contact the professional advising staff in their school or college.

Kal, Hopeton and Debbie

Orange Success Team

Orange SUccess Accessibility Update, March 29, 2017

IMPORTANT:  Please be advised that users may experience issues when using JAWS17 with Orange SUccess, specifically, JAWS17 is not reading all available flag options, and is not allowing the user to navigate through all options. These issues have been reported to the vendor and they are working on an immediate solution. As more information becomes available, we will update this site.

Orange SUccess Accessibility Update, November 28, 2016

Following a recent product upgrade, completed on November 19th, 2016, Hobson’s has provided an updated Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for Starfish CONNECT™ & Starfish EARLY ALERT™. Also provided was a detailed summary and resolution status of accessibility issues reported by both Syracuse University and other universities using CONNECT  and EARLY ALERT.

To view the VPAT and the issues document, please click here and log into the Answers knowledgebase.

As always, if anyone experiences any barriers to accessing Orange SUccess, please contact Debbie Gardner at 315-443-4929 or by email at so the issue may be reported to Hobson’s for immediate consideration.

For optimal user experience, Firefox is the recommended browser for individuals using the JAWS screen reader tool with Windows based computers.  Please note – users are reporting issues when using JAWS with Internet Explorer (IE) or Google Chrome browsers.

Safari continues to be the preferred browser when using Voiceover.

Orange SUccess Accessibility Update, November 4, 2016

Hobson’s applied enhancements and corrections related to reported accessibility issues in mid-October to address items reported to them by Syracuse University.  Additional modification and enhancements are scheduled for implementation with the November 19th upgrade.

For optimal experience, Firefox is the recommended browser for individuals using the JAWS screen reader tool with Windows based computers.  Please note – users are reporting issues when using JAWS with Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.

Safari is the preferred browser when using Voiceover.


Orange SUccess Accessibility Update, September 6, 2016

Hobsons recognizes Syracuse University’s dedication to accessibility both physical and technical, and are in ongoing conversation with us. They have shared with us detailed views of their internal accessibility review processes and asked Syracuse University to partner with them in creating the optimal user experience along with developing an escalation ladder for accessibility issues identified.  Additionally, Hobsons has identified a dedicated QA Compliance engineer who will be addressing the issues as they come.


Orange SUccess Accessibility Update, August 27, 2016

Syracuse University has significantly advanced its technology support for student success this past year in alignment with the University’s Academic Strategic Plan. In an effort to improve advising outcomes and student retention, we have licensed products known as Starfish EARLY ALERT™ and Starfish CONNECT™. Universities such as the Rochester Institute of Technology, Gallaudet University, and the University of Dayton also use these products. We gave our project for implementing Starfish the name Orange SUccess.

As part of our long legacy of achievement at Syracuse University in the area of disabilities, we have tried since the beginning of the Orange SUccess project to ensure that the Starfish platform is usable by the greatest number of students, faculty and staff, including those with disabilities, so that everyone is able to benefit from the unique capabilities of this advising tool. This effort began with the vendor selection process.

In 2014, the vendor selection team identified three leading vendors for enterprise advising: Although none of the products was faultless “off the shelf,” Hobsons’ Starfish was the product that the vendor selection team believed had the strongest commitment to accessibility. Syracuse University executed a contract with Starfish Retention Solutions/Hobsons in summer 2015 that contained language related to accessibility. Specifically, Hobsons agreed to provide documentation verifying compliance with (WCAG) Version 2.0 Level AA and to respond to and resolve any accessibility issues that the university identifies.

When the university executed the contract, Hobsons asserted that the accessibility of the Starfish application had been measured using guidelines set forth by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C; the international standards body responsible for WCAG). Following installation of the platform the implementation team began a process of independently evaluating the accessibility features of the platform. This evaluation process included an accessibility specialist from ITS as well as individuals from the Syracuse University community. This evaluation revealed several opportunities for improvement in the accessibility of the platform. In March 2016 we requested the latest version of the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) from the vendor and began to request specific interface functions that needed improvements.

In April 2016, the implementation team worked with the Office of Disability Services and Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services to develop methods of supporting students, faculty, and staff while the vendor developed improvements. In May 2016, the vendor released a new version of the product that contained some of the improvements we had requested. At that time, the vendor also engaged a third party independent vendor, WebAIM, to evaluate the Starfish application and certify its compliance. WebAIM certified the Starfish application to be substantially conformant with Level A and Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0.

Following additional testing, this new version of the product will become available for the Syracuse University community in September 2016. There are five important improvements that we requested that were not implemented in the current revision of the platform. The vendor has provided a target date of November 2016 for release of another revision of the platform to its clients that will contain these five improvements. Assuming timely receipt of the planned release, we will put that version of the product into our testing environment and release it in January 2017, prior to the first day of spring semester classes.

The Orange SUccess implementation team continues to evaluate the accessibility of each new release of the Starfish platform. As we discover new opportunities to improve the accessibility of the interface, we will relay them to the vendor, request new versions of their VPAT, and monitor the development roadmap for compliance with the terms of our contract. Meanwhile, we will continue to cooperate with the Office of Disability Services and Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services to support students, faculty, and staff who encounter usability barriers.

Please watch this site for additional updates.