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From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Fri, 03 Jan 2003 19:45:11 -0500
To: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-id: <004f01c2b38a$91a51890$6501a8c0@handsontech>


University of Iowa Accessibility Policy for Web Resources

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University of Iowa
DRAFT Accessibility Policy for Web Resources

Policy #:
Date: Issued: 10/29/02
Date: Reviewed/Revised

Purpose

The University of Iowa is committed to providing equal access to
information, programs, and activities through its technology and web
pages,
services and
resources. Fulfilling this promise is critical because the Internet is
fast
becoming the central nervous system of university life. When properly
designed,
web pages facilitate an inclusive environment and culture, and enhance
learning, teaching, research, scholarship, creativity, and public
service
and outreach.
When improperly designed, without regard for the needs and abilities of
our
diverse community, web pages may become barriers and undermine each of
those
activities.

A comprehensive, formal web accessibility policy is the key to ensuring
that web resources are accessible, usable, understandable, and
navigable.
It signifies
that the University of Iowa values all of its members and provides
tangible
proof of the university's commitment to empowering people and promoting
their
independence. This policy establishes minimum standards for achieving
these
goals in a manner that preserves the freedom of designers and developers
to
craft cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, well-designed pages, resources,
and
services.

Making all university-related web sites accessible will not be the work
of
a day, nor of a month. But as a university, our prime responsibility is
to
provide
equal access to education. This is true for the web resources we
provide,
in the same way it is true for all other components of the learning
environment
that we, with justifiable pride, cherish and support. As a university,
we
also have a responsibility to provide state of the art education.
Working with
universally designed, fully accessible web resources, whether as their
creators or as their users, offers a unique learning opportunity to all
members
of our university community. For both of these reasons, departments
should
be highly motivated to meet and even exceed -- in their daily
operations,
activities,
and training -- the standards described in the policy below.

Definitions

Web resources include, but are not limited to, all Internet and Intranet
web pages, services, sites, distance learning or education, and WebCt,
Blackboard
or other course management systems, whether current, active, or
archived.
Accessible web resources are those that fully comply with the guidelines
and standards listed in the attachment to this policy.
An alternative representation or alternative means is a format or
publication of web content that communicates the same information or
data
in a timely
manner.

Undue burden means significant difficulty or expense in creating,
modifying
or publishing web resources. In determining whether an action would
result in
an undue burden, a department or unit shall consider all resources
available to it, as well as the technical difficulty involved in
complying
with the
policy standards.
Legacy web resources are those pages, resources, or services created
prior
to the effective date of this policy.

Scope

This policy applies to new or revised web resources published by or
hosted
by the University of Iowa. It applies to web resources published both
before
and after the effective date of this policy.

Policy

1. Standards For Web Resources

University web resources are to be created and maintained with a focus
on
performance, ease of navigation, visual appeal, accessibility, and
understandability.
They should follow the standards and design guidelines described in the
"
Design"
section of the
ITS Web Accessibility Resources
site, unless they qualify for an exception to the policy standards, as
described in section five (5)." These standards should be considered the
minimum
standards and departments are encouraged to deploy and redesign web
pages,
resources, and services that provide for greater accessibility and ease
of use
than is required by this policy.

2. New Web Resources

New web resources should be developed to be to meet or exceed policy
standards at the time of their publication.

3. Updating Existing Web Resources

Each department or unit is to establish priorities and timetables for
updating its legacy (existing) web resources to meet or exceed policy
standards. The
university recommends that legacy web resources be updated according to
the
following priorities:

A. Specific requests by individuals with disabilities for access to
specific web resources shall be honored in a timely fashion, either by
revising the
site to make the content accessible or by providing an equally effective
alternative. The department or unit responsible for the creation of the
content
is responsible for honoring the request.

B. Web resources that prominently represent the university and key
public
entry points, including, for example, the university and departmental
home
page,
admissions, catalogs, registration, course work, library resources and
services, human resources, administration, advising, and student
services
information.

C. The top 20% of web resources most frequently used (those that receive
the largest number of hits).

D. Web resources required for participation, funding, disability-related
services, and other key pages needed by people with disabilities, if
those
pages
are not among the top 20%.

E. Web resources in archive status (e.g., no longer in use but subject
to
records retention plans) containing core administrative or academic
information,
official records, and similar information.

4. Contact Information

All university web resources must contain a statement referring to
accessibility, and an accessible link a visitor can use to contact a
person, preferably
the web page developer, with questions, comments, and accessibility
concerns. For example, "The [name of department or unit] is committed to
making its
websites accessible to all users and welcomes comments or suggestions on
access improvements. Please send comments or suggestions on
accessibility
to [name
of person to contact]," Each of these pages should also include the date
the resource was published and updated.

5. Exceptions to the Policy Standards

There will be times when departments and units are unable to meet or
comply
with policy standards. Exceptions to policy are permitted only when full
compliance
would impose an "undue burden" because of significant administrative or
financial difficulty and expense, laws or regulations that prohibit
compliance,
or technical infeasibility. In determining whether full compliance poses
an
undue burden, a departments or unit must consider all resources
available to
it as well as the technical difficulty involved in complying with policy
standards. A department or unit can depart from the policy only when it
determines
and documents that an undue burden exists that precludes full
compliance,
however, it must provide the content through comparable alternative
means of
access.

6. Alternative Means of Access

When full compliance with this policy is excused because of an undue
burden, the department or unit must provide a comparable alternative
means
of access
that is equally effective. Text-only pages are to be used only when
compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. Alternative means
may
include,
but are not limited to, voice, fax, relay service, TTY, captioning,
text-to-speech synthesis, audio description, Internet posting and hard
copy. Information
may also be provided in alternate formats such as Braille, ASCII text,
large print, recorded audio and electronic formats that comply with this
policy,
depending on the needs, abilities and preferences of the person with a
disability.

7. Faculty Notice to Students

Faculty members need to discuss any accessibility issues related to cour
ses
that include web components with their students. Faculty should consider
accessibility
for registration materials, course descriptions, syllabi, and other
course
materials. They need to alert students if online course elements make
use of
inaccessible graphical user interfaces, interactive screens,
visualization
tools, or audio material to communicate essential information. If a
student
with disabilities discovers that such elements are used, the student
should
consult with faculty, their advisor, or others for guidance before
registering
for the course, and as needed as the course proceeds.

8. Disputes and Grievances

When a person with a disability cannot access online material, they
should
contact the person responsible for accessibility identified in section
four
(4).
If the contact person does not provide a satisfactory response, the
person
with a disability can contact the department's technology staff or the
offices
listed below. Information about filing grievances and complaints can be
obtained at any time from:

Office of Student Disability Services 319-335-1462
Faculty & Staff Services 319-335-2085
Faculty & Staff Disability Services 319-335-0052 (voice)
Faculty & Staff Disability Services 319-335-3495 (TTY)
Office of Affirmative Action 319-335-0705 (voice)
Office of Affirmative Action 319-335-0697 (text)
University Ombudsperson 319-335-3608
Employee and Labor Relations 319-335-0052

Related Policies

University of Iowa Information Technology policies and procedures
contain
acceptable use, security, networking, administrative, and academic
policies
that
have been developed to supplement and clarify University of Iowa policy.
They are incorporated by reference into the University of Iowa
Operations
Manual
(http://www.uiowa.edu/~our/opmanual/index.html), in accordance with the
Policy on Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources
(http://www.uiowa.edu/~our/opmanual/ii/19.htm).

Copyright 
The University of Iowa.
All rights reserved.
Last updated: November 25, 2002
Contact Information:
its-webmaster@uiowa.edu
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Gil Vickery
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North Country Satellite Office
P.O. Box 895
Franconia, NH 03580
1-800-588-5772 (V-TTY)
(603) 823-5402 (FAX)
ncgsil@ncia.net (E-mail)
www.gsil.org
Received on Friday, 3 January 2003 19:45:53 GMT

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