Assistive Technology:

Computer-based assistive technologies are available whether they are web-based or desktop software, as described above. Access-board.gov guidelines and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards apply. Assistive hardware requires the application of principles of universal design to provide maximum functionality to the greatest number of users.

Desktop Software:  

Desktop software (non-web based) must meet www.access-board.gov guidelines 1194.21. For example, the guidelines require keyboard access to all functions with a text label as an alternative to mouse device activation. Actions activated with graphical user interface button operators must also provide for menu activation accessible via keyboard. These are examples only and do not preclude other necessary accessibility features as included in recognized accessibility standards.

Documents: Word, PDF and PowerPoint:

Document files must adhere to the recognized accessibility standards found at www.Section508.gov. This will ensure readability for individuals using screen reader technology with document files (Word, PDF, PowerPoint, etc.). The following list contains examples and do not preclude other necessary accessibility features included in the recognized accessibility standards.

  • Word and PowerPoint documents will use headings and other formatting options to structure documents.

  • PDF text documents will only include selectable text with a structured reading order, and conform to the checklist at http://www.hhs.gov/web/section-508/making-files-accessible/checklist/pdf/index.html.

  • Images will utilize Alt tags and text for screen reader identification.

  • The content author must remediate or remove inaccessible elements such as text boxes, Flash animation, or on tag images.

Hardware: Kiosks, flat screens, and other

  • At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user vision shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people who are blind or visually impaired shall be provided.

  • At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require visual acuity greater than 20/70 shall be provided in audio and enlarged print output working together or independently, or support for assistive technology used by people who are visually impaired shall be provided.

  • At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user hearing shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing shall be provided

  • Where audio information is important for the use of a product, at least one mode of operation and information retrieval shall be provided in an enhanced auditory fashion, or support for assistive hearing devices shall be provided.

  • At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user speech shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people with disabilities shall be provided.

  • At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require fine motor control or simultaneous actions and that is operable with limited reach and strength shall be provided.

  • At least one mode of operation will provide full access to a seated user.

These are examples only and do not preclude other necessary accessibility features as included in recognized accessibility standards.

(See: https://www.umt.edu/accessibility/getstarted/procurement/hardware.php)

Mobile Devices and Apps:

Hardware: Mobile device offerings (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry) need to be evaluated for each user before considering them for purchase. If the user is provided with a system that does not meet their needs, an alternative must be provided.

Apps: Smartphone apps will use the accessibility frameworks present in modern smartphone operating systems to ensure that all functions of the app are accessible.

If technology under consideration does not adhere to these guidelines, Brown must make an effort to find alternative equivalent software, or document workarounds and provide guidance that will provide equivalent access.

Web: Mobile site design should comply with web guidelines. Most tools to assist users in a web environment are replicated in mobile web browsers. See Web Guidelines below.

Purchasing:

Under University Technology Accessibility guidelines, any technology procured by the university needs to be fully accessible to students, faculty, and staff with disabilities.  It is important to think accessibility first when purchasing a product or service to avoid increased costs, loss of time upon double implementation, and legal risk to the University.  When in doubt, reach out to the departmental accessibility liaison for assistance with buying products.  

When working directly with a manufacturer/vendor departments can use a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template or VPAT™.  VPAT™’s are used to assist buyers in making preliminary assessments regarding the availability of commercial “Electronic and Information Technology” products and services with features that support accessibility.  It is recommended that departments provide additional contact information to facilitate more detailed responses to specific uses.

Audio and Video Technical Guidelines

Audio and video materials used in the classroom or affiliated with assignments must be captioned (descriptive subtitles are also acceptable) and audio described as appropriate. Course activities involving live video communication must be made accessible with live captioning or an interpreter. If you have a student who requires these accommodations, SEAS can help you make the appropriate arrangements.

Web Accessibility:

All web-based resources, including administrative and academic tools, static websites, and learning management systems, must meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 at Conformance Level AA, or be compliant with Section 508 or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Where there is disagreement between WCAG 2.0 and Section 508, use whichever guideline is more strict.