NEW! UCF Policy 2-006 Digital Accessibility
By: Kristeena LaRoue, Deputy ADA Coordinator – Digital Accessibility and Universal Design
What is digital accessibility?
Digital accessibility refers to the process of designing technology and digital environments that are available to and usable by all people, including people with disabilities. Some specific examples of digital accessibility include captioning and audio description for videos, alternative text for images, renamed hyperlinks that provide context, and appropriate reading order (including headings).
Why is digital accessibility important?
As technology continues to become a larger part of everyone’s lives and the way that we conduct business in higher education, it is imperative that we ensure our digital environment is accessible to all people. Ensuring that digital environments are proactively accessible allows for real-time, independent access without the need for modifications or accommodations. Without digital accessibility, people with disabilities often do not have access to digital information and environments and cannot fully participate in the same way as their non-disabled peers.
It’s important to remember that as technology changes and evolves, so does digital accessibility. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which has been recognized as the “industry standard” for ensuring website accessibility, continue to evolve to address new challenges posed by changing technology. This can make it difficult to create fully accessible digital environments, as many folks in the accessibility field say, “accessibility is a journey, not a destination.” There is a recognition that no one person has all the accessibility solutions and that it may take some time for the university community to understand how to create accessible environments. That said, it’s important that we all strive to create the most accessible and inclusive digital environments. To reinforce the importance of this matter and ensure compliance with federal accessibility laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, UCF has adopted a Digital Accessibility Policy.
What is the new Digital Accessibility Policy?
On June 20, 2022, UCF adopted its first Digital Accessibility Policy. This policy applies to all information and communication technology (ICT) that is developed, procured, maintained, and used by UCF. The adopted guiding accessibility standard for the university is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 AA.
Information and communication technology covers a wide variety of electronic technology and resources that are used for communication, instruction, and distribution of information. Some examples of the technology and resources covered include online instructional resources, electronic documents, telecommunication products, video and multimedia products, and online events.
How does this policy impact UCF?
Parties who are responsible for creating and/or maintaining digital content should be aware that there is now a requirement to strive for compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA. The Digital Accessibility Policy details compliance dates based upon the type of content, with the earliest date being June 26, 2023. Please see the chart below and the full text of the policy for more information on compliance timelines.
|Web pages, web applications, and web content that are developed, published, or hosted by the university and are created, redeveloped, or undergo substantial revisions
|June 26, 2023
|All multimedia posted to university web pages and applications, as well as multimedia used in university programs, courses, and activities
|June 26, 2023
|Content that is created, redeveloped, or undergoes substantial revisions and is posted to the university LMS
|June 26, 2023
|Web pages, web applications, and web content that are developed, published, or hosted by the university and were in existence prior to June 26, 2023
|December 31, 2024
|Legacy web pages and web content
The Digital Accessibility Policy also addresses procurement by stating that all ICT purchased by the university is expected to conform to WCAG 2.0 AA. Additionally, university community members should strive to purchase products that best meet the standards and if this is not possible, the party purchasing the product must create a plan for access.
How can I learn more?
To help support the implementation of this policy, UCF’s Council on Accessibility is working to identify and create training sessions and resources needed to support UCF’s community. The Office of Institutional Equity anticipates publishing information on their website in August 2022 regarding the Digital Accessibility Policy and its implementation. Additionally, training sessions will be offered both in-person and remotely, as well as through WebCourses. In the meantime, please check out some existing online resources here at UCF, such as CDL’s ‘What is Online Accessibility’ webpage and SAS’ Digital Accessibility webpage.
If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please reach out to Kristeena LaRoue, Deputy ADA Coordinator, at (407) 823-1336 or Kristeena.LaRoue@ucf.edu