Digital Accessibility Policy
University of Illinois Extension is committed to providing equivalent access to programs and services, including those delivered through electronic and information technologies, under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). If a reasonable accommodation is not possible, the information should be available by alternative means.
University of Illinois Extension is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website and providing equivalent access to programs and services, including those delivered through electronic and information technologies, under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). If a reasonable accommodation is not possible, the information should be available by alternative means.
University of Illinois Extension is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website and intranet to people with disabilities. New and updated web content produced by our organization will meet (WCAG) 2.0, Levels A and AA, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation act of 1973, as amended, and the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA), by February 28, 2022.
Existing public web content maintained by our organization will meet our standard by December 31, 2022.
Content provided for our sites by third-party developers will meet (WCAG) 2.0 by December 31, 2022 for existing sites or by February 28, 2022 for sites under current development. This does not include user-generated content.
Extension will conduct a review of this policy every three (3) years on or before December 31, 2025. The Accessibility Policy and Implementation Committee will be established with required representation of at least one(1) member of the Extension Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) committee, and submit their review of this policy to the Statewide Communications and Information Technology committee on or before the policy deadline. This policy was last reviewed on August 31, 2021, by James Hazzard, Director of Information Technology.
Areas of accessibility
- Live Presentations (training, webinars, live streams)
- Recorded / Archived Videos
- Social Media
- Public Email Communications
- Online Courses
Modified from U of I Campus IT Accessibility Implementation Guidelines
- Website: Websites will follow HR-86 (see above) implementation guidelines Section 3.3 Web Accessibility Requirements as published in the Campus IT Accessibility policy.
- Live Presentations (training, webinars, social media live) and Live captions: Enable live captioning functionality within Zoom for all meetings, programs, or training sessions regardless of whether they include an internal Extension staff audience only or also include the public.
- Recorded / Archived Videos: It is our legal responsibility to meet accessibility standards in video content. Many platforms today provide auto-generation tools for captioning, but we should still take responsibility for reviewing and editing errors in the captions where applicable. Auto-generated captions are the absolute minimum acceptable standard for captioning across our various platforms. We strongly encourage staff to edit and update any language, such as scientific species names, that commonly are inaccurately captioned through auto-generation means. How-to/educational videos, and videos are required to undergo review and editing to be as close to officially accurate as possible. It is the video producer’s responsibility to clean up and edit the captions, regardless of final publishing channel.
- Social Media: Use options offered by most major platforms to enable auto-captioning for live social media and alt text for images. Follow platform guidance and best practices, which include, but are not limited to: alternative text, image selection and text color contrast, and hashtag and emoji use.
- Documents: All electronic documents provided to the public should be evaluated for accessibility. Most document platforms include tools that can help, for example, most Microsoft and Adobe applications include accessibility checkers to help authors with that assessment.
- Public Email Communications: Email communications to the public through widely used tools like Email+, Sympa listserv, or Mailchimp often have web content or images embedded in the mass communication. Staff will use best effort to follow web accessibility guidelines (alt text for images, acceptable contrast fonts, etc.) for these elements and document accessibility guidelines will be followed for any accompanying attachments.
- Online Courses: Extension online courses are delivered through the Moodle learning management system. Moodle’s accessibility documentation is available on the Moodle website. The Moodle accessibility features apply to only those components native to Moodle. Other items included in courses, such as video, documents, links, or SCORM content, should each be checked for accessibility.
This page contains the most current draft of the Implementation Guidelines. It is subject to minor changes as the policy nears its final form. This document supports the Information Technology Accessibility Policy as a supplemental guide for establishing the Implementation Plan called for by the Policy.
SEC. 1. Rationale
Required procedures must pragmatically and with due diligence address accessibility compliance for Illinois Extension program participants in a way that demonstrably shows progress toward full accessibility compliance over time. Individuals employed by Illinois Extension have a responsibility to ensure accessibility compliance, and Illinois Extension CommIT bears the responsibility of providing adequate training and avenues of support that allow those individuals to successfully create, maintain, and deliver accessible electronic information. As such, implementation guidelines in sections that follow are proposed with the understanding that additional resources may continue to be evaluated and made available over time.
SEC. 2. General Requirements
The Implementation Plan shall address Electronic Information Technologies (EIT) as outlined in the Scope of the Illinois Extension Accessibility Policy. Per the Illinois Extension Accessibility Policy, EIT shall meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Levels A and AA, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation act of 1973, as amended, and the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) All Illinois Extension employees shall be notified of this Policy and the Implementation Plan. Extension will comply with metrics set by the campus EIT policy and will participate in University-led audits of EIT compliance. All EIT developed or procured after the effective date of the Illinois Extension Accessibility Policy shall be developed or procured in such a manner as to comply with the Policy. EIT existing prior to the effective date of the IT Accessibility Policy and that is in use is considered "legacy" EIT (see definitions for Legacy and Archived). Legacy EIT is not exempt from the Policy and will be brought into accessible compliance in an ongoing, prioritized process based on impact. When any legacy EIT undergoes a redesign or other substantive change, it is now considered "new" and must be brought into compliance with the Illinois Extension Accessibility Policy at the time of the change. Illinois Extension must implement an anonymous, accessible, and easily accessed method for reporting accessibility issues (such as a contact link on each web page). Illinois Extension must establish an accessible and easily identified mechanism for requesting that EIT be made accessible. It is Illinois Extension’s responsibility to devise and maintain an appropriate alternative access options for consideration, and it is each program organizer’s responsibility to offer or implement those options as requests for accommodation are received. (See Accessibility Exceptions) All individuals developing programs and digital content are required to ensure that electronic materials they use are accessible.
SEC. 3. Recommended Procedures and Guidelines
SEC. 3.1 Instruction and Training
Electronic documents, such as PDFs and Microsoft Word documents, shall be made accessible in courses in which a participant with a registered disability is enrolled. Illinois Extension staff are encouraged to ensure that all electronic documents are accessible. Program owners/producers are responsible for accommodation requests.
SEC. 3.2 Electronic Materials Requirements
An appropriate designated unit shall be equipped and staffed, or contracted, as necessary to accommodate requests for alternative media conversion (DRES currently performs media conversion for instructional materials). Alternative media conversion shall include but is not limited to: braille, large print, audio and digital text. Assistive technologies (such as text-to-speech software) must be able to read and announce the contents of electronic text (e-text/e-books). E-text readers (devices) must be functionally accessible allowing full operational interaction and control of the device.
SEC. 3.3 Multimedia Requirements
University administrators, faculty, staff and other affiliated persons utilizing multimedia for the mission of Extension shall ensure such media is captioned, subtitled, and where appropriate, audio described at the time of use. All training, informational and educational video and multimedia must be closed captioned and, where appropriate, audio-described.
SEC. 3.3 Web Accessibility Requirements
Web accessibility shall be considered throughout the development process and life-cycle for websites, web applications, and their related content. Accessibility evaluation methods for websites and web applications must include manual testing as well as tool-based evaluation. Recommended methods for evaluating websites and web applications for accessibility compliance will be established. Each web page must clearly provide an anonymous, accessible method for reporting accessibility issues to website owners. Website owners shall bear the primary responsibility for ensuring that their websites, web applications and related content are accessible. This includes websites developed by a third-party for campus use.
SEC. 4 Definitions
Resources are "accessible" when 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 term "archived" means EIT that existed prior to the effective date of this policy and are not currently in use, such as publications, videos, recordings, flyers.\
Disability means, with respect to an individual, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such an individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment. This definition is in accordance with Section 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, § 36.104 Definitions.
ELECTRONIC INFORMATION TECHONOLOGIES
Electronic information technologies (EIT) are computer hardware and software, operating systems, web-based information and applications, telephones and other telecommunications products, video equipment and multimedia products, that are used in the access, creation, conversion, dissemination, or duplication, of data or information utilized to facilitate the core missions of Illinois Extension. The term is used inclusively in this policy to also include digital content; including publications, web pages, and videos, used by Illinois Extension staff or program participants for the core missions as the public outreach arm of University of Illinois.
EQUALLY EFFECTIVE ACCESS
This phrase means that the core content, intent and functionality of an electronic material and/ or information technology must be perceivable, consumable and open to interaction by any user regardless of their capability. The end result must be accomplishable in comparable time, comparable effort and comparable independence for all users.
The term "electronic material" means digital content including digital publications, multimedia, and web pages, used by Illinois Extension staff to facilitate the core mission of Illinois Extension.
The term "emerging technologies" refers to technologies that are under development and are not ready for deployment in a full production environment. Often such technologies are innovative in nature and are deployed as part of a pilot study.
The term "functionally accessible" means that an information technology is readily usable by persons with disabilities, without respect to any particular accessibility law or standard.
The term "legacy" means EIT that existed prior to the effective date of this policy and that are currently in use or circulation, such as publications, videos, recordings, graphics, flyers, and reports.
RELATED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
The term "related information technology" means, (A) any electronic platform or delivery system used by students, faculty, or administrative personnel to access electronic materials; and (B) includes any hardware, software, and applications required for the manipulation, annotation, and dissemination of such electronic materials. SEC. 5 Exceptions Requests for exceptions to this policy must be submitted to the Technology Accessibility Review Committee (TARC), acting for the OVCDEI. Individuals requesting an exception must provide a plan that would provide Equally Effective Alternative Access, unless such an alternative is not possible due to technological constraints or if the intended purpose of the technology (e.g., virtual reality goggles) at issue does not allow for an alternative. Accessibility Exception Process is outlined in the Campus EIT policy here.
The term "website owner" means the individual or campus unit responsible for the creation and upkeep of a website and any related content. A "website host" is not by necessity a website owner and may or may not be responsible for the website content or its accessibility.
SEC. 5 Exceptions
Requests for exceptions to this policy must be submitted to the Technology Accessibility Review Committee (TARC), acting for the OVCDEI. Individuals requesting an exception must provide a plan that would provide Equally Effective Alternative Access, unless such an alternative is not possible due to technological constraints or if the intended purpose of the technology (e.g., virtual reality goggles) at issue does not allow for an alternative. Accessibility Exception Process is outlined in the Campus EIT policy.