Digital Accessibility Guidelines

There are a number of guidelines around making content accessible digitally.

Statement of Accessibility on all Webpages and Web-based Applications

All webpages and web-based applications must display in a consistent location (e.g., menu or text in the banner or footer) a statement, or link to a statement, referring to a commitment to accessibility by the university, college, department, program or unit. In addition, each page must have a link allowing users to contact the designated responsible position or positions within a college, department, program, or help desk (instead of individuals, who often change positions or duties). 

“The [name of department or unit] is committed to making its digital environment accessible to all users, and welcomes comments or suggestions on access improvements.  Please send comments or suggestions on accessibility to the [position to contact].” 

All digital environments should also contain a link to the Report a Physical or Online Barrier form which will help to generate awareness around inaccessible content. 

Exemptions

Where compliance is not technically possible or may require extraordinary measures due to the nature of the information and the intent of the web technology, a request for exception must be made.  Lack of sufficient funding for any particular unit, department or college of the university would not be considered for an exemption. 

Units seeking an exception to this policy must submit a written request through the Accessible Web Site Exception Request Form (Appendix 3) to Paul Bergen, Direct for Educational Technology & Learning Spaces, or Theresa Regan, Director for Enterprise Infrastructure and Operations, Tufts Technology Services (TTS), in consultation with the Office of University Counsel, detailing why compliance is not feasible and how the unit will make information posted online available to individuals with a disability in an equally effective manner. 

Definitions

There are number of terms related to accessibility that you need to understand. Below are some key terms:

  • Accessible – means 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 person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability.
  • Accessible Format – the structure and composition of digital documents and applications that are readable and usable by people with disabilities, using assistive technologies, and/or special configurations for user agents. These may include, but are not limited to: large print; recorded audio and DAISY format; HTML, MathML and other digital formats; video captioning; and Braille.
  • Active Online Environments – Online environments that are regularly accessed by people greater than or equal to 5 times per year is considered active.
  • Archived Information Resources – Online environments containing core administrative or academic information, official records, and similar information that are no longer available to a wide audience, but are subject to record retention plans. Note that technology components such as software applications and hardware devices are not placed in an archive status.
  • Assistive Technologies: Adaptive, rehabilitative devices that promote greater independence for individuals with disabilities by changing how these individuals interact with technology. Examples include special input devices (e.g., head or foot mouse, puff-and-sip switches, speech recognition), screen-reading software, and screen magnifiers.
  • Content – Content should be construed broadly to include anything on the Tufts websites and within our Learning Management Systems (LMSs) including, but not limited to, audio, video, images, tables, forms, documents (in any format, including .docx and .pdf), registration forms, surveys and html.
  • Equally Effective Alternative Access – As used in this Policy, Equally Effective Alternative Access means an alternative format, medium, or other aid that timely and accurately communicates and/or provides access to the same content as does the original format or medium, and which is appropriate to an individual’s disability.
  • Information Communication Technology (ICT) – Includes, but is not limited to, information resources such as webpages, websites and databases; web- and computer-based applications allowing for interaction between software and users; services employing information technology and telecommunications equipment.
  • Information Resources – includes webpages, videos, images, and other digital materials. Information resources differs from ICT in that it does not include technology components such as software applications and hardware devices.
  • Legacy Online Environments – Online environments that are accessed less than 5 times per year.
  • Equally Effective Alternative Access – As used in this Policy, Equally Effective Alternative Access means an alternative format, medium, or other aid that timely and accurately communicates and/or provides access to the same content as does the original format or medium, and which is appropriate to an individual’s disability.
Tufts University Digital Accessibility Policy
Download the policy for information regarding all of the appendices and forms