The University of Mississippi is committed to providing a welcoming and equitable digital experience.
This Standard sets out the minimum requirements for creating accessible Digital Content, Resources, and Technology (“Digital Material”) to advance the University’s commitment to providing equitable access in compliance with the University’s Accessibility of Technology Services Policy.
Accessibility is a shared responsibility among those who maintain University Digital Material.
Scope of Applicability
This Standard applies to all University constituents and third parties, under circumstances within the University’s control, who distribute, host, otherwise make available, or obtain Digital Material when conducting University business.
This Standard applies to all University Digital Material that is publicly available without user authentication, including but not limited to:
- Video and audio content
- Electronic documents
- Desktop, mobile, and cloud-based software applications
- Interactive tools and platforms
- Library resources
- Official UM Social media
New Digital Material provided by the University of Mississippi must be Accessible except when doing so would impose a Fundamental Alteration or Undue Burden.
New Digital Material must meet minimum accessibility requirements. The following requirements apply to specific types of content, resources, and technology:
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended
- Current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Level AA
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0 for tools that support web content authoring (e.g. HTML editors, software for generating websites, multimedia authoring tools, wikis and blogs, etc.)
University departments must identify and prioritize existing Digital Material that is not accessible and develop an action plan to make that existing Digital Material accessible. In addition, upon request, University departments must make any existing Digital Material accessible in a timely manner. In the event existing Digital Material cannot be made accessible, the University department must provide an equally effective alternative.
If a user must interact with the Digital Material in an unexpected way, workarounds must be advertised or provided upon request. If features of the Digital Material’s accessibility are reliant on user input, instructional materials/guides must be provided, and users must be made aware.
If the Digital Material has a reasonable alternative method or format for a feature, the alternative method or format must be readily available and documented.
University departments may use internal University services or external contractors to make Digital Material accessible. The expense of this work falls to the University department responsible for the Digital Material.
Digital Material compliance activities may be prioritized based on available resources, audience scope, and amount or size of the request or content. When a new accommodation request is received, the timeline for making the existing or archived Digital Material accessible must be expedited.
University departments must provide contact information on or associated with all Digital Material for users who have trouble accessing the Digital Material. The contact information should be an accessible link on web sites, or an appropriate alternative in other contexts, that allows individuals to report an accessibility issue.
Ongoing Accessibility Evaluation
University departments are responsible for evaluating their Digital Material to ensure ongoing compliance with this Standard. Upon request, UM Digital Accessibility Solutions may provide consultation and training assistance as needed.
A variety of methods may be used to complete this evaluation. Methods may include automated testing, expert evaluation, manual testing, and user testing.
In addition to individual department evaluations, UM Digital Accessibility Solutions will oversee an ongoing, targeted evaluation process of high priority Digital Material.
1. Limited or Minimal Use
If Digital Material will be used by one individual or a small number of identified individual(s) (such as a small office or research lab), and the responsible University department confirms that the Digital Material is accessible to the identified individuals, a de minimis exception applies to the procurement or development of such Digital Material. The Digital Material is not subject to the evaluation or remediation requirements of this standard, and there is no requirement to provide an equally effective alternative.This exception no longer applies when the Digital Material is used by individuals other than those originally identified when the Digital Material was developed or procured. Therefore, this exception shall not be used when Digital Material is intended for long-term use or by unknown future users. This exception also no longer applies when an individual notifies the University department of an accessibility need related to the Digital Material. Once the exception no longer applies, the Digital Material is subject to all requirements of this Standard, including those related to identification and remediation of accessibility issues and to availability of an equally effective alternative.
2. Fundamental Alteration or Undue Burden
If an equally effective alternative cannot be provided because doing so would impose a fundamental alteration or an undue burden, or if another requirement of this standard cannot be met, the University department responsible for the Digital Material must use the following process to request an exception to this standard:
- Obtain approval from the applicable University department head to submit the request.
- Submit an exception request via accessibility.olemiss.edu that contains detailed information about efforts to make accessible the Digital Material and to provide an equally effective alternative. Include information about why it is not possible to make accessible the Digital Material and why providing an equally effective alternative would impose a fundamental alteration or undue burden. UM Digital Accessibility Solutions will collect all requests and begin the review process.
- Reviews will be conducted by representatives from UM Digital Accessibility Solutions, members of the Standing Committee on Accessibility, and the Office of General Counsel as appropriate. Following appropriate review, UM Digital Accessibility Solutions will notify the department about whether the exception is approved in as timely a manner as possible.
Please note that cost is only one factor used when determining undue burden, and cost is considered within the context of the entire university’s budget. Additionally, the cost must be significantly outside of the norm in order to justify an undue burden defense due to cost.
If the exception request is not approved, UM Digital Accessibility Solutions, at the department’s request, may assist in creating an action plan including researching other vendors with similar products or identifying alternative methods to achieve the same functional goals.
A written explanation for an exception will be tracked within the accessibility.olemiss.edu system and be available upon request. All decisions are final.
3. By Request
Digital Material developed or obtained prior to the publication of this standard may not be fully accessible to all users. Therefore, when Digital Material is requested by an individual, if that service is not already accessible in the manner required by the individual making the request, the department will promptly offer the service in an alternate, accessible format. The department will simultaneously seek a long-term solution to address any future cases.
4. Extreme Circumstances
Extreme circumstances related to technology compliance should be addressed to UM Digital Accessibility Solutions. An example of an extreme circumstance might be a non‐compliant, hosted, online service that is required for accreditation and is offered by a single vendor. Initial inquiries may be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessible: Able to be used by all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, with or without assistive technology.
Digital Content, Resources, and/or Technology: (also referred to as “Digital Material”) Information, products, and services available for download or distribution in an electronic format or presented on a web page or through a web or other computer application.
Equally Effective Alternative: Format or medium that communicates the same information and provides the equivalent functions in as timely a manner as does the original content or resource.
Existing Digital Material: Includes all Digital Content, Resources, and Technology developed or procured prior to the effective date of this Standard, including Digital Content, Resources, or Technology that is archived.
Fundamental Alteration: A change so significant that it affects the essential nature of the instruction, program or activity provided.
New Digital Material: Includes all Digital Content, Resources, and Technology developed or procured after the effective date of this Standard.
Undue Burden: A significant disruption, expense, or difficulty that may result by the provision of accessible Digital Content, Resources, or Technology.
Related Requirements and References
External Regulations and Consequences
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 35.
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. Part 104.
- W3C’s Current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
- Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines