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UW-Whitewater Plan for ADA Web Accessibility

October 23, 2001

Background

The University of Wisconsin System has mandated that all UW System campuses achieve compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although no specific timetable has been set for Web accessibility compliance, the UW-Whitewater Campus-Wide Information System (CWIS) Committee met in the spring 2001 semester to outline a plan of action to comply with the mandate.

At the April 12, 2001 CWIS Committee meeting the Director of Networking, Desktop Support, and Training Services presented a plan to bring UW-Whitewater into ADA Web compliance. That plan, with the modifications of the committee and a subsequent sub-committee, is presented below.

Web Accessibility for Individuals with Disabilities: Introduction

The Campus Wide Information System (CWIS) system at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is committed to providing equal access to Web-based Information in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The proliferation of the World Wide Web as an instructional and administrative tool necessitates the establishment of immediate guidelines to insure accessibility to UWW educational and operational systems. As part of an UW system-wide initiative, the purpose of this document is to articulate a policy for adoption by the University Technology Committee and implementation by University personnel.

Existing practices and environment:

The UW-Whitewater CWIS has over ten thousand documents. At present, Web page authors are directed to review accessibility standards at http://www.uww.edu/webteam/accessibility/. This page was developed by Instructional, Communication and Information Technology personnel. It is based heavily on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology accessibility guidelines and the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Guidelines, Priority 1 Standards. Currently, UWW has no formal method for ensuring compliance with these guidelines.

Proposed policy and timeline for University compliance:

The following steps will be taken to implement Web accessibility compliance at UW-Whitewater.

  1. ADA Web Compliance for Web pages on the UW-Whitewater Campus-Wide Information System is defined as the achievement of Priority I Standards of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) as adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium. Web page authors are encouraged to achieve Priority II and Priority III, Guideline 13.5 compliance as well.
  2. A public education program sponsored by News and Public Affairs, Instructional, Communication and Information Technology (iCIT), and Disabled Student Services will begin immediately upon adoption of this plan. The public education program will train the campus community in the methods by which Web pages should be made accessible for persons with disabilities. Specific steps in the public education program include:
    • Notice of this initiative to be published in the UWW Reporter.
    • A series of four workshops on ADA Web compliance to be provided by iCIT for the campus community before the end of the fall 2001 semester.
    • Production of instructional materials on ADA Web compliance to be used in the workshop series.
    • Creation of on-line training materials that instruct Web publishers, in a step-by-step manner, what they need to do to make their pages compliant with ADA requirements. These materials and an explanation will be posted on the Campus Announcement Board.
    • iCIT will integrate workshops on ADA Web compliance into its regular rotation of training workshops.
  3. The campus Web administrator will install and distribute online software tools that will evaluate Web pages for ADA compliance.
  4. The current Web Accessibility Guidelines (http://www.uww.edu/webteam/accessibility/) will be rewritten to provide policy and guideline information concerning Web page accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
  5. As of July 1, 2002, all new or revised official Web pages posted on the UW-Whitewater Campus Wide Information System must be ADA compliant. The campus Web administrator will produce an automated compliance verification system that will review each new page to be posted on the CWIS.
  6. As of July 1, 2003, all official Web pages on the UW-Whitewater CWIS must be ADA compliant.