Why has Yale established an Accessibility Policy?
This policy serves to address the needs of individuals with disabilities who wish to use university websites and applications as part of their education, to participate in programs, to engage in campus activities or to conduct university business. Making Yale’s digital content accessible aligns with the university’s mission to disseminate knowledge and to promote diversity and inclusion throughout our community.
What types of websites and applications are covered by the policy?
The policy applies to any website or application that conducts university business. This is defined as any activity that is carried out under the auspices of Yale University. A school, organization, office or course website, for example, would be covered by the policy. While a personal faculty website is an example of a site that is not covered, we encourage all sites be made accessible, if possible. If you’re not sure whether your site falls under the policy, contact the IT Digital Accessibility team via email@example.com.
Does the policy only apply to new websites and applications? What about existing sites and applications?
All University websites should have a link to a page expressing Yale’s commitment to accessibility, if Yale has the ability to add such a link. The preferred location is in the footer of every page, but it suffices for the link to be on a single page, as long as it’s easy to find. For more details on this requirement, see Section 7 of the Web Accessibility Procedure “Reporting and Responding to Accessibility Issues”.
All content entered in University websites should be accessible after March 1, 2018. All new University websites that are created after September 1, 2018 fall under the policy and should be accessible. This also applies to University websites that undergo substantial revisions. Substantial revisions include modifying the majority of the content, or a change that substantially alters the usability or design. In addition, University websites owners who manage sites that are maintained, upgraded, or updated by suppliers should impose obligations on the supplier to deliver accessible technology and/or content when the contract is renewed.
Owners of existing websites may be required to establish a plan for ensuring accessibility upon notification from the Accessibility Steering Committee.
Does it matter where my website is hosted?
The policy applies to websites on Yale-controlled domains, which means that Yale can exercise control over the site platform or theme or content. Whatever element of the site which you have control over must satisfy WCAG 2.0 Level AA. For example, if you upload a video to YouTube, that video should be captioned. If you purchase a vended solution and adjust its color scheme, then you should use adequate color contrast.
I’m launching a new website or application after September 1, 2018 and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to comply with the policy by launch. What options are available to me?
Where compliance is not technically possible or may require extraordinary measures due to the nature of the information or the intent of the university website, you may make an exception request. As part of this request, you may be required to submit an accommodation plan detailing how your unit will make information on your website available in an alternative format to individuals with a disability. For details on how to submit an exception request, please see Procedure 1605 PR.01 Web Accessibility Procedure.
I’d like to find out if my current website or application complies with the policy. How do I do that?
There are a number of ways to evaluate a website or application for accessibility, including automatic scanning, manual checklists, and expert reviews. We recommend you apply a variety of approaches. ITS can assist with accessibility testing and connect you with companies that provide expert accessibility evaluation services. For more information about accessibility testing, visit Yale’s Testing for Accessibility page.
I’m working with an outside company on a web redesign. How can I make sure they deliver an accessible website?
It is important to consider accessibility from the beginning of the web redesign process. To learn more how to address accessibility with vendors, visit the Working with Vendors section of the Accessibility website.
I have a website that I regularly update with new content. How does this policy affect me?
All content entered on a university website, new or existing, should be accessible. To learn more about creating accessible content, visit our accessibility articles page.
My website includes videos, audio files, PDFs, and other document file types. Does the policy apply to those items as well?
Yes, any documents and media displayed on your website should also be accessible. For example, a YouTube video embedded on your site—even if you do not own the content—needs to be accessible in order for your website to be in compliance. Visit our Multimedia and Documents pages to learn more about creating accessible media and documents.
Do I have to caption all of my videos?
Anyone creating multimedia should include transcription and captioning of content as a normal part of the production process. Text versions of multimedia are critical for some disabled users, and tremendously beneficial for most users. A high priority should be given to multimedia that is posted to public websites where the audience is potentially large and the disability status of viewers is not known. Some multimedia, such as Zoom meeting recordings and classroom lecture recordings in Panopto, with access restricted to a small number of known employees, or students enrolled in a course, with an expected use not to exceed a single term, is a low priority. It may be acceptable in these situations to provide transcriptions or captions only upon request or when there is an approved accommodation.
What kinds of training, tools, and resources are available to assist me?
The university has a Digital Accessibility team in ITS to provide support to the Yale community. A comprehensive resource on web accessibility at accessibility.yale.edu offers instructions on how to make websites accessible, information on tools and services, and guidance on how to seek assistance. There will also be regular training sessions scheduled throughout the year to directly assist faculty, staff, and students.
Is there a cost to making my site or application accessible?
Creating and maintaining accessible websites and applications may include costs for services or tools that help with testing and remediation. Consideration of the costs early in the development or procurement process will help site owners plan their budgets appropriately. For help thinking through the financial impact of making your site or application accessible, contact the IT Digital Accessibility team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a question about the Yale Accessibility Policy that isn’t covered here. Where can I go for assistance?
You may contact the IT Digital Accessibility team at email@example.com.