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Accessibility Specialist in Dynamic Description for PhET Interactive Simulations

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The PhET Interactive Simulations project ( at University of Colorado Boulder has an opening for a part-time Professional Research Assistant position for an accessibility specialist with a focus on designing static and dynamic description for highly interactive science and math simulations – enabling access to all the simulation offers to users of screen readers. The PhET team designs and develops interactive simulations (sims) for teaching and learning science and math, creates lessons that couple with the simulations and makes these resources freely available to educators and students on the web. 

Application review will begin January 20, 2020, and will continue until the position is filled. 

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

PhET is a leading innovator in making interactive technologies accessible (, with significant funded research and development efforts. The successful applicant will join the vibrant and productive PhET team. The responsibilities will include:
  1. Collaborating with a diverse team of simulation designers, content specialists, software developers, and inclusive design specialists to create highly accessible simulations. 
  2. Leading the design of the static and dynamic description within multiple simulations each year, working closely with the content, pedagogy, and software development experts. This work involves: developing an understanding of the content concepts within the sim and the pedagogical design intentions; designing the associated document structure, descriptions, and behavior to realize the pedagogical goals; organizing, communicating, and managing all design specifications through a shared document; and working very closely with developers throughout implementation, testing, and revision.
  3. Reviewing, testing, and feeding back on static and dynamic description designs and implementations by other team members. 
  4. Conducting interviews with screen reader users to test effectiveness and inform improvement of descriptive design and implementation. 
  5. Adapting and improving the descriptive design process and procedures with the flexible nature of the project.
The ideal candidate will have experience in description design and high attention to detail. They would also have a creative way with words and the ability to communicate complex relationships with others in an organized way. A basic understanding of HTML or document structure semantics is highly useful, but not required. (PhET has a strong software development team; there is no requirement to write any lines of code). 

What We Can Offer

Part-time (20 hours/week or 50% time, with some flexibility to be higher or lower). Starting salary for this position will depend on experience and range from $15,000 - $21,000 for 50% time. The start date is flexible and can be as late as July 1, 2020. Candidates can work remotely or relocate to Boulder. 


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Be Statements

Be Innovative. Be Inclusive. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • Bachelor’s degree OR experience in description design for non-visual access.
  • Experience in description design for non-visual access (image description, auditory description, interactive description).

What You Will Need

  • Attention to detail.
  • A creative way with words.
  • Ability to communicate complex relationships with others in an organized way.
  • Ability to recognize and identify patterns.
  • Excellent communication and collaborative skills.
  • Understanding of inclusive design and non-visual access.
  • Knowledge of and/or interest in science and math content areas at the introductory college level.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Basic understanding and experience with HTML or document structure semantics.
  • Experience in interaction design or user experience design.
  • Experience with assistive technologies such as screen reader software.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume/CV
  2. Cover Letter
  3. A list of professional references (minimum of three) is required at the time of application. An official written letter of recommendation from these references will be requested by the hiring unit at the appropriate time during the search. This information will be kept confidential and viewable only by the search committee.
  4. Application Task 1
  5. Application Task 2 
Information about the required application tasks can be found here (these two tasks will take roughly 2 hours to complete). Application review will begin February 1, 2020, and will continue until the position is filled. 

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Oliver Nix

Posting Contact Email: