Digital Accessibility


The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is committed to ensuring equal access to information, programs, and activities through use of its information technology (IT) for all members of the campus community. This policy establishes the standards for digital accessibility of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to ensure technologies developed, procured, maintained, used, or provided by the University for the purpose of interaction and creation and manipulation of data comply with applicable state and federal laws.


This policy applies to all information and communications technology developed, procured, maintained, used, or otherwise provided by the University for use by its personnel, students, or the public. Information and communication technology that does not utilize a human interface is outside the scope of this policy.


Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (“OVCDEI”)


It is the policy of the University that Information and Communications Technology developed, procured, maintained, used, or otherwise provided by the University for use by its personnel, students or public is accessible consistent with federal and state law including but not limited to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended (“Rehabilitation Act”) and the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (“IITAA”).


“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. A person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability.

“Accessible Format” is 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, video captioning, and Braille.

“Archived” is ICT information or services that are no longer actively linked to or circulated but may be subject to records retention plans.

“Alternative Access Plan” (AAP) means a documented approach to ensuring that equally effective alternative access is made available for a given ICT product, service, or setting where such ICT is utilized.

“Digital Accessibility” means the measure of how successfully an individual with a disability can locate, access, and understand wanted or needed digital information. As used in this policy, the terms “Digital Accessibility and “ICT Accessibility” (or “Information and Communications Technology Accessibility”) are synonymous.

“Equally Effective Alternative Access” is an accessible alternative method of access that accurately and in a timely manner communicates the same content or information as does the original format or medium, and which is appropriate to an individual’s disability, unless it results in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the service, program or activity or results in an undue burden.

“Essential Functions” means the fundamental job duties of the employment position the individual with a disability holds or desires. The term “essential functions” does not include the marginal functions of the position. A job function may be considered essential for any of several reasons, including but not limited to the following:

  • The function may be essential because the reason the position exists is to perform that function;
  • The function may be essential because of the limited number of employees available among whom the performance of that job function can be distributed; and/or
  • the function may be highly specialized so that the incumbent in the position is hired for the individual’s expertise or ability to perform the particular function

“Exception” is an established and approved condition where an ICT that is not fully accessible is allowed for use along with an AAP to ensure equally effective access to the information or service normally provided by the excepted ICT.

“Functionally Accessible” means that a given ICT is usable by an individual with a disability, without regard to specific technical accessibility standards.

“Information and Communications Technology” (ICT) is information technology and other equipment, systems, technologies, or processes, for which the principal function is the creation, manipulation, storage, display, receipt, or transmission of electronic data and information, as well as any associated content. The term ICT is adopted to broaden the term information technology (IT) and to emphasize the way in which IT is used for interaction and the creation and manipulation of data. Examples of ICT include but are not limited to; computers and peripheral equipment; information kiosks and transaction machines; telecommunications equipment; customer premises equipment; multifunction office machines; software; applications; Web sites; videos; and electronic documents, presentations, and emails.

“Legacy” means ICT that has been procured, maintained, or utilized prior to October 30, 2018 and is still in active circulation or use.

“Minimum Digital Accessibility Standards” (MDAS) are the legal and technological standards and guidelines that the University utilizes to determine if its ICT technically and functionally accessible.

“Non-availability” means that a more accessible alternative to an ICT is not available on the market for procurement.

“Required Documentation” is a written explanation of why and to what extent conformance for an ICT would constitute an undue burden on the agency or would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT.

“Technically Accessible” means that a given ICT is in conformance with ICT technical accessibility standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.x.

“Unit” means a University college or administrative unit.

“Undue Burden” means the extent to which making ICT fully conform to legally mandated standards would impose significant difficulty or expense, including availability of resources.



  1. The ADA IT Coordinator shall oversee and coordinate the University’s efforts to provide training and education to faculty, staff, and students on compliance with this policy, including notification of the existence of the policy and the Implementation Plan.
  2. The ADA IT Coordinator shall work with the ADA Coordinator and the OVCDEI to provide resources for compliance monitoring and to assist faculty, staff, and students with developing, procuring, maintaining, using, or otherwise providing accessible ICT.
  3. The OVCDEI shall establish a technology accessibility review committee (“TARC”) to oversee exceptions and to assist the ADA IT Coordinator in ICT accessibility efforts on campus.
  4. The ADA IT Coordinator shall implement an IT Accessibility Liaison (“ITAL”) Program to provide training and coordination for IT Accessibility Liaisons across campus.
  5. Each unit shall designate one or more IT Accessibility Liaisons to serve as initial points of contact for the unit and to answer questions about ICT accessibility.
    1. Units shall notify the ADA IT Coordinator of any change in the appointment or designation of their ITAL (s).

Provision of Accessible ICT

  1. The University shall provide ICT resources that are accessible to all, to the fullest extent technically feasible given an assessment of available resources and subject to the ICT Minimum Digital Accessibility Standards contained in the Implementation Plan.
  2. All ICT with a human interface shall be reviewed for accessibility according to the MDAS. Upon a finding of non-compliance by appropriate University personnel, and to the extent that individuals with disabilities are unable to perform their essential functions, use of such ICT may be subject to discontinuance until the ICT is made to conform or an exception is granted.
    1. Legacy ICT must be brought into accessibility compliance in an ongoing process, prioritized based upon its impact to campus, available resources, and the nature of use.
    2. When legacy ICT undergoes a redesign or other substantive change, it is now considered “new” and must be brought into compliance with the policy.
    3. Archived ICT is exempted unless an accommodation request is made. Undue Burden may apply.
  3. Should a vendor contracted with the university mandate an audit of their technology for security and privacy reasons, the accessibility of the product must be part of that audit.

Implementation Plan

  1. The ADA IT Coordinator shall prepare and maintain an “Implementation Plan” containing ICT accessibility standards, processes, procedures, and guidelines for putting this policy into action. See
  2. The ADA IT Coordinator is responsible for the development, implementation and oversight of the ICT Minimum Digital Accessibility Standards contained in the Implementation Plan established by this policy.
  3. The ADA IT Coordinator shall manage the compliance monitoring structure and process.
  4. The ADA IT Coordinator shall periodically review the accessibility guidelines and standards established by law, including without limitation the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, the Rehabilitation Act, and the IITAA, to determine whether any revisions or updates to this policy or its implementing procedures are necessary.
  5. This policy shall be reviewed at least every three years.


  1. ICT that is not technically or functionally accessible per the MDAS must receive an approved exception in order to be used or otherwise provided for use by the university for its personnel, students, or the public.
    1. ICT for individual or limited team use, where no member of the team has been identified as having a qualified disability, does not require an approved exception.
  2. ICT for use in research, where no member of the research team or research participants would be adversely impacted by the inaccessibility of the ICT, does not require an approved exception.
  3. Requests for exceptions must be submitted to the TARC for review and approval. It is the responsibility of the individual or unit seeking to use or provide the ICT to make the request to the TARC.
  4. Exception requests must include
    1. Required documentation that demonstrates that the ICT meets undue burden, or non-availability, or if conformance would result in fundamental alteration.
    2. A documented Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan that will provide an alternative means of access for the features of the ICT that are not accessible, or
    3. Documentation describing why an alternative means of access is not possible due to technological constraints or the intended purpose of the technology (e.g., virtual reality goggles) at issue does not allow for an alternative.
  5. In instances where the TARC disallows an exception, the submitter may appeal to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Access and Equity, who will review the exception request and make a determination. Appeal decisions are final.
  6. In the event that the ADA Coordinator or designee does not agree with an exception approval decision made by the TARC, the ADA Coordinator will document their compliance concerns and notify the Associate Vice Chancellor for Access and Equity of their concerns.


Nizam Arain, J.D., Acting ADA Coordinator
Office for Access and Equity