Digital accessibility refers to ensuring that information and communications technology (ICT), such as websites or PDFs, can be utilized by those with disabilities as effectively as those without disabilities. ICT is, basically, anything that is used to create, manipulate, store, or display electronic data and information. Your computer and mouse are ICT, as are the operating system, applications, and electronic documents that you interact with on a daily basis.
Digital accessibility is an ethical and legal obligation for all governmental entities, such as higher educational institutions. It is mandated federally by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. §794d) and Section 255 of the Communications Act. The Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) requires Illinois agencies and universities to ensure that the ICT they utilize is accessible to people with disabilities.
To be considered accessible to those with disabilities, ICT must allow individuals with disabilities to “independently acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services within the same timeframe as individuals without disabilities, with substantially equivalent ease of use (Department of Justice).” The goal of digital accessibility is to create an equivalent and inclusive real-world experience for all.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is committed to fulfilling its legal obligations in digital accessibility and fostering an inclusive digital culture on campus. The Accessibility and Accommodations Division of the Office for Access and Equity assists university employees with disability accommodations involving ICT, the campus ADA Coordinators offer training in digital accessibility, and the campus Digital Accessibility Policy (HR-86) promotes high-level coordination of digital accessibility efforts on campus.
Information about the Digital Accessibility Policy, upcoming digital accessibility training opportunities, and resources, such as tutorials and references for creating accessible web pages and documents, is available on the IT Accessibility website.