Sisu accessibility improving step by step

University of Helsinki

In the summer and autumn of 2021, the accessibility of Sisu has been improved through a number of individual fixes. More extensive feature fixes are currently under preparation. To ensure the smooth progress of studies, the University is offering individual support to students in need of it.

(Image: Veikko Somerpuro)

Problems related to the accessibility of Sisu, the new student information system of the University of Helsinki, emerged in spring 2021. A complaint concerning accessibility deficiencies was submitted to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland, which reprimanded (article in Finnish only) the University of Helsinki for serious deficiencies in Sisu’s accessibility.

As stated in the University of Helsinki Equality and Diversity Plan, the University is committed to promoting equality and preventing discrimination in all its operations. Continuous efforts are being made to realise accessibility and equality. In the case of Sisu, development focus areas and timetables are agreed together with Funidata Oy, the company responsible for the system. At the moment, the focus is on Sisu’s accessibility, especially with regard to the student user interface.

Users are not yet seeing all effort put into Sisu

In the summer and autumn of 2021, a number of individual accessibility fixes have been carried out. Some of them are already operational, but some will only be activated in conjunction with the next update in January 2022 or subsequent updates.

Development efforts encompassing entire windows and functionalities have remained partially invisible to users, as redesigning and implementing improvements takes a lot of time in software development. Currently under development are, for example, the course search page for students and new features related to the Open University, taking accessibility into consideration from the start. In addition, an external accessibility specialist has assessed the accessibility of Sisu and commented on improvement needs related to the search page and study plan section of the student interface, as well as currently active plans pertaining to the user interface. New staff have also been recruited to speed up the implementation of fixes.

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