This document summarizes the accessibility and usability barriers identified while testing the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra web conferencing tool, as well as potential workarounds while using the tool, and information regarding how to get assistance.
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is an online web conferencing tool used for campus meetings and instruction. While there are accessibility and usability barriers found in testing, they are nominal and we encourage the use of this tool in either meetings or academic instruction.
Review the accessibility and usability barriers found in testing and see information on how to get assistance or report further barriers.
How to get help
University students, faculty, and staff using BlackBoard Collaborate Ultra can get real-time technical support and additional assistance.
Students with disabilities who need educational support with course content or delivery (beyond using web conferencing tools) can contact their professor and the McBurney Disability Resource Center.
Faculty who need additional assistance with making course content or delivery accessible can contact DoIT Academic Technology at email@example.com to be connected with an Accessibility Consultant.
If instructors need additional accessibility accommodations, they may request reasonable accommodations through their Divisional Disability Representative (DDR).
For additional documentation on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, see the UW-Madison Blackboard Collaborate KnowledgeBase.
Screen Reader and keyboard navigation barriers
Audio and video previews at the start of a session
When entering a web conferencing session, the camera setup dialogue box can be difficult to reach via keyboard navigation while using a screen reader. Additionally, the camera preview doesn’t have an accessible label, but reads “unable to play media.”
Additionally, the audio preview may be somewhat confusing because it asks the user if they see the “audio bar” which pulsates if their audio is working. However, there is a status message users with visual disabilities can use that says “you sound great” if the user’s audio is working.
My settings button in the action bar
Under the “My settings button” in the action bar at the bottom of the web conferencing window, a screen reader will read “My settings button” instead of the profile information for settings allowing the user to know if they are set as a participant or a moderator.
Main menu state and label
The main menu doesn’t have an accessible label and when the main menu button is opened, it reads as “expanded” but when closed the state doesn’t change to state doesn’t read as “collapsed” or “closed”.
Avoid using virtual backgrounds
Avoid using virtual backgrounds during a web conferencing event as the effects are visually less accessible to users. Virtual backgrounds can also cause increased CPU workload for the user running the background, which can disrupt their participation in the meeting.