“The University of California is committed to supporting an information technology (IT) environment that is accessible to all, and in particular to individuals with disabilities. To this end, the University seeks to deploy information technology that has been designed, developed, or procured to be accessible to people with disabilities, including those who use assistive technologies. An accessible IT environment generally enhances usability for everyone. By supporting IT accessibility, the University helps ensure that as broad a population as possible is able to access, benefit from, and contribute to its electronic programs and services.” - UC Information Technology Accessibility Policy
Please see complete PDF of University of California – Policy IMT-1300 Information Technology Accessibility Policy Document and the University of California Office of the President Electronic Accessibility website for more information.
The Laws ADA, 504, 508 and How They Relate to WCAG
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require that public universities provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, and activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter them or impose an undue burden.
In addition, Section 508 of the same act requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Thus, public universities must provide equally effective access to information to people with disabilities, independent of the format.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are part of a series of web accessibility guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the Internet.
WCAG 2.0 is a stable, referenceable technical standard. It has 12 guidelines that are organized under 4 principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. For each guideline, there are testable success criteria, which are at three levels: A, AA, and AAA.
Meeting WCAG 2.0 also fulfills the web requirements for section 508, so generally web developers use WCAG 2.0 as the standard.
Enhancing UCSF’s Competitive Advantage
At the heart of the UCSF accessibility policy is the concept that accessible websites benefit every site visitor with well-designed, easy-to-navigate sites
As an educational institution, health care provider and employer, we operate in competition for the attention of professors, potential students, patients, new hires, and others. If one of them (for example, a talented School of Medicine master’s program applicant or their parent) cannot read our application page, we run the risk of losing that applicant to a university that delivers fully accessible content.
Many Benefits with Accessibility
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- search engines read alt tags
- well constructed pages rank higher
- Social Responsibility – as a public entity, UC is held to the highest standards of access
- Cleaner Navigation - works without a mouse
- Ease of use for all users - expanded user control
- Device independence - desktop, laptop, mobile, etcetera
- More inclusive workplace – people with disabilities constitute 5-10% of our workforce
- Bimodal presentation - can improve speech perceptibility
- Allows for more cost effective online interaction - reduces calls and visits