The University of Minnesota is committed to providing equitable access to information technology, digital materials, services and the environments in which information technology is used. All colleges, departments, central units and faculty are responsible for ensuring access to their Web content, Web applications, digital materials, environments and services to the greatest extent possible in accordance with the following practices:
- implementation and adherence to World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 level AA and ARIA 1;
- purchase, acquisition, development and use of hardware and software products that support universal design and access;
- design, implementation and maintenance of accessible technology-related work environments that accommodate all users; and
- application of accessibility tools and techniques in the creation of digital materials and communications. For example, text-based alternatives which may include:
- Alternative text descriptions for images
- Transcripts for audio content
- Captioning and audio description for multimedia
In cases where Web content, Web applications, digital materials or services are not accessible, an individual with a disability may request that the Web content, Web application, digital material or service be made available in an accessible alternative format or that an equally effective accommodation be provided by the unit responsible for its provision and maintenance. The responsible unit must, upon receipt of the request, make accessible versions available to all users within a reasonable time period.
Individual Web pages published by students, employees or non-university organizations hosted by the University but that do not conduct University-related business are outside the scope of this policy.
Research and Non-availability Exceptions
Exceptions to this policy are as follows:
- Hardware and software tools specific to a research or development process in which no member of the research or development team requires accessibility accommodations. The lead investigator must document that, upon inquiry, no member of the research or development team identifies as requiring an accommodation.
- Hardware or software for which no equivalent accessible option is available (non-availability). All colleges, departments, central units, and project leads are responsible for documenting the following efforts in verifying compliance with this exception:
- identification of alternative applications or equipment with similar required functionality that do not provide additional accessibility;
- identification of alternative applications or equipment that are accessible but do not meet functionality requirements; and
- purchase of a currently non-compliant product where efforts by the vender are underway to remediate the defects by a defined date.
Reason for Policy
To implement Board of Regents Policy: Disability Services.
Incorporating principles of universal design and current accessibility standards in the design and development, purchase and acquisition, implementation and use of information technology and related resources helps the University to ensure that its resources are accessible to the widest possible audience. Adherence to this policy will help to ensure that all individuals have access to Web content, Web applications, digital materials, environments and services associated with administration, courses of instruction, departmental programs, and University-sponsored activities.
This policy benefits the university by improving access and reducing barriers to faculty, staff and student success as well as reducing costs of required retroactive accommodations and reducing legal and reputational risk associated with non-compliance.