Web Access

"Technology is the hallmark of the future, and technological competency is essential to preparing all students for future success. Emerging technologies are an educational resource that enhances learning for everyone, and perhaps especially for students with disabilities. Technological innovations have opened a virtual world of commerce, information, and education to many individuals with disabilities for whom access to the physical world remains challenging. Ensuring equal access to emerging technology in university and college classrooms is a means to the goal of full integration and equal educational opportunity for this nations students with disabilities."

Dear Colleague Letter to University Presidents, Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice and Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education (June 29, 2010); see also Dear Colleague Letter (May 26, 2011) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

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University of California Commitment

On July 21, 2010, UC President Mark G. Yudof wrote a letter to his colleagues, including the UC Academic Council, stating that:

As part of a broad and substantive commitment to accessibility in all venues, the time has come for the University to take a lead role in advancing electronic accessibility, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also to tap new sources of innovation and imagination. Done thoughtfully, such efforts can be carried out using existing resources by integrating accessibility principles at the start of technology and purchasing cycles, by exploring innovative approaches to teaching and learning, guided by principles of universal design, and by promoting awareness and ensuring close collaboration among service providers and experts.

Three years later, on August 27, 2013, the systemwide UC Information Technology Accessibility Policy became effective.

The Policy and Requirements are structured to give UC campuses the flexibility to develop and support an Information Technology Accessibility Program (ITAP) to address IT accessibility in a holistic manner, balancing the academic, research, and administrative needs against the realities of resource constraints and technology limitations. Campuses are to prioritize IT accessibility efforts and continually work toward achieving a more accessible IT environment, as IT accessibility is not a one-time University-wide effort but should be incorporated into every IT activity on an ongoing basis.

IT accessibility is a rapidly developing field. One area where standards have emerged is web-based technologies. There are four principles of web accessibility perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.

The Requirements establish WCAG 2.0 Level AA  as the standard for University web content. WCAG 2.0 is a widely accepted standard for web content that was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

The UC IT Leadership Council initiative promotes electronic accessibility throughout the University of California.

With respect to the campus, the Educational Technology Services (ETS)  provides many resources to support access to computers and online content.

Support for Programmers/Developers

The campus IST - Architecture, Platforms, and Integration has developed a Web Accessibility website as a rich resource for website and content owners, web developers, assistive technology users, and anyone else who wants to make sure that online information and tools are accessible to all members of the Berkeley community, regardless of disability. One helpful document is Campus Captioning of Live Webcasts and Pre-Recorded Videos.

Federal Initiatives

On July 26, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice published four advance notices of proposed ADA rulemaking (ANPRMs) in the Federal Register seeking public comment. Topics range from web accessibility, movie captioning and video descriptions, 9-1-1 call-taking centers (also known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), medical and exercise equipment/furniture, golf carts, beds in dormitories and nursing homes, and electronic and information technology (EIT) equipment and furniture, such as kiosks, interactive transaction machines (ITMs), point-of-sale (POS) devices, and automated teller machines (ATMs).

On October 8, 2010, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act. On January 12, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted implementing rules requiring captioned programs shown on TV to be captioned when re-shown on the Internet.