University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Accessibility of Information Technology

Policy Statement

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 Resources (PDF).

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. 


Primary ContactEnjie Hall [email protected]
Policy QuestionsDisability Resource Center612-626-1333[email protected]
Technical QuestionsOffice of Information Technology612-301-4357 (1-HELP)[email protected]
Purchasing QuestionsPurchasing Services612-624-2828[email protected]
Web Page DesignTonu Mikk612-625-3307[email protected]
Web, digital materials and environment accessibilityDisability Resource Center (DRC)612-626-1333[email protected]
Inaccessible Web PagesContact person listed on website  

Campus Contacts

Twin CitiesTC Disability Resource Center (DRC)Voice/TTY: 612-626-1333 
DuluthUMD Disability Resource servicesVoice: 218-726-6130 TTY: 218-726-6575 
MorrisUMM Disability Resource Center (DRC)Voice/TTY: 320-589-6178 
CrookstonUMC Disability Resource Center (DRC)Voice: 218-281-8587 TTY: 218-281-8565 
RochesterUMR Disability Resources  
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Vice President, Office for Equity and Diversity
  • Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Office of Information Technology
  • Senior Director - OIT Application Development
  • Director, Disability Resource Center; ADA Coordinator, Office for Equity and Diversity
  • Enjie Hall
    Director, Disability Resource Center; ADA Coordinator, Office for Equity and Diversity



A person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability. Although this might not result in identical ease of use compared to that of persons without disabilities, it still must ensure equal opportunity to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology and equal treatment in the use of such technology.

Adaptive Technology

Any item, piece of equipment, or product system — acquired commercially, modified, or customized — that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capability of an individual with a disability. The following are examples of adaptive technology.

  • Screen readers
  • Screen magnification applications
  • Speech recognition systems
  • Alternative keyboards and pointing devices
  • Alternative hand and foot switches

Functional Accessibility

Individuals with disabilities are able to effectively acquire information and services, interact with digital resources and applications, and complete tasks in an equally integrated manner with substantially equivalent ease. Compliance with standards alone does not guarantee functional accessibility. Therefore, testing with adaptive technology is essential.

Technology-related Environments

Any environment in which technology is made available for general use by students, faculty, staff, guests or visitors.


Disability Resource Center

Promote awareness of policy. Respond to requests for assistance from units and individuals. Monitor progress of implementation.

Office of Information Technology

Promote awareness of policy. Provide consulting services to units making changes to support compliance with this policy.

Purchasing Services

Establish procedures to assure that University specifications for technology purchases include specifications for accessibility when relevant.

University Units

Indicate on purchasing requisitions whether / when? technology accessibility issues are relevant.

Web Developers

Follow established University Standards when creating and revising University web pages.

Web Development

Provide consulting services to units making changes to comply with this policy.

Related Information



August 2018 - Comprehensive Review. Clarified the inclusion of media; Provided specificity around the process for accommodation requests; Provided greater specificity around individual student, faculty and other Web resources exempted from the policy.


December 2013 - Comprehensive Review. Modified ownership to include the Office of Information Technology. Provided greater specificity around conditions which qualify for exceptions to the accessibility standards.


July 2008 - Clarified and simplified policy. Special situations section deleted and Exception section added. Updated Disability Services contact information. Added FAQ.


May 2002 - Clarified Purchasing Services responsibility in Responsibilities section.


March 2002 - Policy is now effective, not proposed. Policy statement and reason, definitions, special situations and procedure have all been revised. Deadlines for implementation of this policy have been extended three months. Reference to "granting exemptions" and "without placing an undue burden" was removed from the Policy Reason. This material is addressed in Special Situations.


March 2002