Accessibility

Purpose

This policy is established to support the College of William and Mary community in promoting equal access opportunity to information technology by the application of accessibility standards, guidelines, training, tools and methods consistent with higher education and their medical centers. The aim is to provide this opportunity in a setting that fosters independence and meets the guidelines of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This policy sets forth W&M accessibility standards and guidelines that reflect best practices for achieving the accessibility of information technology for use by persons with disabilities.

Policy

The procurement, development, and/or maintenance of information technology and user support services for persons with disabilities will be aligned with accessibility standards specified in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and in "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines" from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), appropriately tailored to the specific circumstances of the College.

Accessibility standards will be designed to evolve and change, as newer technologies are introduced and user needs change. At the same time, the standards will maintain a consistent framework for accessibility training and support services. College development, maintenance, training, and support personnel who are responsible for information technology procurement, programs, and services will possess professional credentials and/or an appropriate level of technical knowledge and experience related to accessibility standards for persons with disabilities.

This policy is established to support the College community in promoting equal access opportunity to information technology by the application of accessibility standards, guidelines, training, tools and methods consistent with higher education.

Procedures

Planning for the College's accessibility standards, guidelines, training, tools and methods is underway. These resources will be an open source of information for those within or outside the College community who develop and maintain an accessible IT environment for all individuals.

Definitions

Accessibility: refers to the opportunity that everyone, regardless of physical or technological readiness, such as people with disabilities, will be able to equally access and use information technology. To quote Tim Berners-Lee, W3C director and inventor of the World Wide Web, “The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

W3C or World Wide Web Consortium: is an international organization that develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. W3C is a forum for information, commerce, communication, and collective understanding.

References
  • The World Wide Web Consortium - (W3C) organization
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 - Working Draft as of 23 November 2005
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - "Section 508" Standards
  • Americans with Disability Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - "Section 504" Provisions for Equal Access Opportunity