Our Progress and Plan

Texas A&M University believes in providing equal access and opportunities to discover, communicate, and apply knowledge and skills. We are committed to providing campus resources that work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, culture, location, or physical or mental abilities.

Accessibility policies

Texas A&M, as part of The Texas A&M University System, maintains policies regarding accessibility of Electronic and Information Resources (EIR) in accordance with Texas Administrative Code, Title 1, Chapter 206 and Chapter 213 as well as Texas Government Code 2054, Subchapter M in accordance with Section 504 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

Texas A&M University System

●    System Regulation 29.01.04 - Accessibility of Electronic and Information Resources (pdf)

Texas A&M University

●    University Rule 29.01.04.M1 - Accessibility of Electronic Information Resources (pdf)
●    Standard Administrative Procedure (SAP) 29.01.04.M1.01 - Web Accessibility Procedures (including Linking and Indexing) (pdf)

Standards, responsibilities and commitment

Texas A&M is dedicated to utilizing principles of universal design in order to improve learning outcomes and access for everyone. The accessibility standards we follow are the W3C Worldwide Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA. Additionally, we utilize W3C's Guidance on Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web Information and Communications Technologies (WCAG2ICT), which describes how WCAG 2.0 and its principles, guidelines, and success criteria can be applied to non-web Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), specifically to non-web documents and software.

Our commitment to inclusiveness involves:
●    the support of central administration, academic deans and departmental stakeholders,
●    collaboration among key campus departments and support organizations to promote universal design concepts and accessibility compliance,
●    centralized Web testing and validation of sites originating from Key Public Entry Points,
●    procurement processes that factor in accessibility requirements,
●    an EIR Accessibility Coordinator who serves as the point person for campuswide accessibility compliance and consulting,
●    an IT Accessibility website, targeted communications, and accessibility training, and a network of accessibility advocates who promote best practices.

Exceptions

If after evaluation of all available resources and options it is determined that compliance with technical accessibility standards for a particular EIR is not possible due to unavailability of alternative products or services, or if compliance with technical accessibility standards would impose a significant difficulty or expense to Texas A&M when considering its entire budget, an exception request can be initiated by personnel at the respective unit by filling out the electronic EIR Accessibility Exception Request Form.

Requests must include a description of the accessibility issue, justification for the exception, and a plan for alternate means of access. An exception must be approved by the Office of the President, after being routed through the EIR Accessibility Coordinator for review by the Chief Information Officer (CIO). an expiration date for approved exceptions will be assigned.

Contact

The EIR Accessibility Coordinator (EIRAC) is the central point of contact concerning accessibility issues and solutions for our institution's EIR. The EIRAC facilitates a response to concerns, complaints, reported issues, DIR surveys, and EIR Accessibility Exception Requests, and provides or arranges training and consulting services on matters related to accessibility.
Contact our EIR Accessibility Coordinator.

Requests for accommodation

When an individual is unable to access Texas A&M EIR, he or she may request that an alternate format or method to access the information be provided. Reasonable efforts shall be made to accommodate individuals with enabling software, assistive devices, or other means. Personal information exchanged in an effort to receive a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act will be treated in a confidential manner.

If you need information regarding ADA support for specific services, see University Risk and Compliance designated ADA contacts.

Progress during FY2017

  • Promoted accessibility best practices, provided consulting services and increased accessibility awareness with campus stakeholders; more than 150 individuals benefited from accessibility consultations.
  • Evaluated the accessibility of key university websites and applications including www.tamu.edu, Code Maroon and the Howdy student information portal; more than 20 website and project accessibility compliance evaluations were completed.
  • Performed accessibility testing on essential security and resource sharing applications prior to purchase.
  • Expanded content on the IT Accessibility website to include not only web accessibility, but also document creation, captioning resources and procurement best practices.
  • Revamped existing web accessibility training sessions for a more interactive experience and expanded training offerings to include document creation and procurement; more than 325 trainees/attendees took part in training and informational sessions.
  • Incorporated accessibility into business processes to optimize its impact across campus; approximately 25 Electronic and Information Resource (EIR) contracts were evaluated for various departments in working with TAMU Contract Administration.
  • Created Web accessibility testing protocol, documentation and templates.
  • Developed communications plan for accessibility team initiatives.
  • Engaged in dozens of collaborative projects and initiatives with other departments as well as the Texas A&M University System and its Members.

Short term goals for FY2018

  • Assemblage of an IT Accessibility task force by the Vice President for Information Technology to review the 2018-20 comprehensive accessibility compliance plan.
  • Expanded role-based course offerings by the Texas A&M IT accessibility team through the Professional Development Department.
  • Expansion of our Web Accessibility Compliance Initiative to promote partnerships with the accessibility team and campus units.
  • Promotion of the selected enterprise-wide web accessibility scanning tool for use within campus units.
  • Development of a captioning workflow to assist campus stakeholders in determining a plan of action for captioning videos.
  • Creation of streamlined processes to ensure procurement of accessible Electronic and Information Resources (EIR).
  • Creation of EIR inventory that will include a list of prioritized IT for Texas A&M as well as accessibility issues and remediation plans and progress.

Ongoing Plans

  • Delivering targeted communications and presentations on universal design and accessibility.
  • Promoting implementation of IT Accessibility policy and guidelines.
  • Working to make existing IT Accessibility web content complete and creating additional Knowledge Base how-to articles which are relevant to our campus community.
  • Recruiting more campuswide accessibility liaisons and continuing Accessibility Special Interest Group meetings through the GoWeb community.
  • Continuing to monitor and assess websites based on the revised Section 508 standards (which include WCAG 2.0 Level AA criteria).
  • Promoting the use of accessible templates for documents, events and presentations.

Did you know?

  • In the United States, about 55 million people have a disability (src: 2010 U.S. Census).
  • About 1 in 5 Americans have some kind of disability (src: 2010 U.S. Census).
  • The percentage of people affected by disabilities is growing as our population ages.
  • Two popular, free screen readers are VoiceOver (Mac OS and iOS) and NVDA (Win).
  • Good accessibility practices can improve the search ranking of your website.
  • Form fields without labels can cause problems for some assistive technology users.
  • Low color contrast makes content difficult to see, especially for users with low vision.
  • Documents linked on a website need to be accessible too (e.g., PDF and Word files).
  • Audio content, like podcasts, need transcripts for deaf or hard of hearing users.
  • Online videos should be captioned for deaf or hard of hearing users.
  • Using HTML tags correctly is very important for accessibility.
  • Descriptive link text helps make a website more accessible. Avoid using "Click here" or "Read more."
  • A "screen reader" is an application that reads content aloud to a user.
  • There is no "alt tag" in HTML. "Alt" is an attribute used with the img tag.
  • HTML uses the alt attribute to provide a text description of an image.
  • Alt text should describe an image, if the purpose of the image is to convey information.
  • If an image is a link, the alt text for the image should explain where the link goes.
  • If an image is only being used for decoration, the alt text should be null (i.e., alt="").
  • If a table has headers, using header tags (<th>) will make the table more accessible.
  • An accessible website is one that can be navigated and understood by everyone.