SUNY Policy on Web Accessibility 

The University at Albany is committed to providing an online environment that is accessible to a wide and diverse audience. 

UAlbany adheres to SUNY’s Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Policy, which recognizes SUNY institutions’ responsibility to assure that individuals with disabilities and individuals who are temporarily disabled have equitable access to electronic information resources, which includes University websites. 

The Web Services team creates web templates that meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Conformance Level AA guidelines, identifies and fixes accessibility issues using SiteImprove software, and trains site editors in web accessibility.  

Site editors must ensure the information they add to any UAlbany website conforms to accessibility standards. Anyone who creates content, documents and/or videos that are posted on a UAlbany website should review these resources.  

Please contact Web Services at [email protected] with any questions or for further guidance. 

  

Web Accessibility Resources for UAlbany Site Editors 

Whether you’re building or updating a webpage, or sharing a video, document or presentation on your website, the content must be accessible to users with disabilities.  

Select the type of content you’re creating for a list of accessibility best practices and resources: 
 

 

Need help? Request a training session. 

 

Learn more about Web Accessibility

WCAG 2.1 AA Standards

University web developers need to ensure the content they develop meets accessibility guidelines outlined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines are published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the Internet. 

While the most recent version of the guidelines consists of pages of techniques and examples, some of which do not apply to the daily work of editing the webpages within albany.edu, WCAG does present four guiding principles of web accessibility that address each category of content, including images, hyperlinks, text and PDFs. 
 

The Four WCAG Principles of Accessibility 
  • Perceivable: Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.

  • Operable: User interface components and navigation must be operable. 

  • Understandable: Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable. 

  • Robust: Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. 

There is no one right way to create a perceivable, operable, understandable and robust (POUR) website, but WCAG does list best practices that you can incorporate into your workflow at the University at Albany so that your webpages are accessible to audiences of all levels of ability. 

Assistive Technology

Cognitive, hearing, motor and visual disabilities can affect people in different ways at different points in their lives. For example, you may know someone who is gradually losing their sight and/or hearing with age. Assistive technology is a term that encompasses the tools developed to allow individuals with disabilities to maintain their independence. 

In the context of website management, assistive technology refers to the hardware and software created to ensure that users with disabilities can access content. To get a better sense of the diversity of disabilities that may impact how users interact with albany.edu, check out the following list of popular assistive technologies, then see how these tools are used by watching videos of assistive technology in action. 

You can access assistive equipment and software at the University Libraries. 

Cognitive Disabilities 

Hearing Disabilities 

  • Captioning software, like the tools available in YouTube's Video Manager 

  • Transcription software 

Motor Disabilities 

  • Voice-controlled software

  • Mouth sticks or styluses 

  • Eye tracking devices, like Tobii Dynavox 

Visual Disabilities 

Videos 

Accessibility Laws
Federal Laws 
  • Americans with Disabilities ActProhibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. 
      

  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs run by federal agencies; programs that receive federal financial assistance; in federal employment; and in the employment practices of federal contractors. 
      

  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Requires "Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities." 
      

State Policies 

New York's Accessibility of Web-Based Information and Applications policy establishes minimum accessibility requirements for web-based information and applications developed, procured, maintained or used by state entities. 

Additionally, SUNY policy requires institutions to create web content that is accessible to users with disabilities. 
  

Accessibility Laws in Practice 

When the National Federation of the Blind’s civil rights complaint lodged with the U.S. Department of Justice against Penn State was resolved in 2011, the university and NFB entered into a voluntary Resolution Agreement. The agreement was drafted to guide the school’s future accessibility strategy and included the following requirement: 

"The University shall develop an EIT (Electronic and Information Technology) Accessibility Policy Statement that continues to demonstrate its commitment to implementing accessibility of EIT to blind and other print disabled students, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This Policy shall be posted on a University website no later than August 31, 2011, and shall disclose that an audit is taking place and that a Strategy will be disseminated and posted by April 15, 2012." 

After federal investigators visited McNeese University in Louisiana in 2008, the Department of Justice led a review of the school’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The DOJ found a multitude of physical and digital barriers to access, and the following revisions to the website were mandated: 

Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, and throughout the life of the Agreement, the University will do the following:  

  1. Establish, implement and post online a policy that its web pages will be accessible and create a process for implementation;  

  2. Ensure that all new and modified web pages and content are accessible; 

  3. Develop and implement a plan for making existing web content more accessible;

  4. Provide a way for online visitors to request accessible information or services by posting a telephone number or e-mail address on its home page;

  5. Periodically (at least annually) enlist people with disabilities to test its pages for ease of use.