Procuring IT Products and Services

IT accessibility is the set of strategies, guidelines, and resources that make EIR accessible to people with disabilities. It involves developing policies and implementing processes to ensure that everyone has equal access to information. The spectrum of disabilities include those affecting vision, hearing, motor and cognitive skills.

Steps to procuring accessible EIR

Ensuring the procurement of accessible Electronic and Information Resources (EIR) is the first step to enabling everyone—including those with disabilities—to perceive, understand, navigate and interact with technology.

Basis for procuring accessible EIR products and services

EIR developed, procured or significantly changed by institutions of higher learning in the state of Texas must comply with Texas Administrative Code accessibility requirements (specifically 1 TAC §206 and 1 TAC §213) which reference standards contained within Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and subsequently require conformance with 1) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA and 2) Functional Performance Criteria contained within.

These standards serve as guideposts for diversity and inclusion at Texas A&M University, and they apply to EIR developed, procured, maintained or used by TAMU directly, or by a third party, acting as an agent of, or on behalf of, the university, or through procured services (vendor) contracts; and, EIR services provided through hosted or managed services contracts.

According to the proposed TAMU rule which supports state and federal laws, EIR include, but are not limited to:

  • Software applications and operating systems
  • Websites, including both Internet and intranet
  • Telecommunications products
  • Video and multimedia products
  • Self-contained, closed products, such as copiers, printers and fax machines
  • Desktop and portable computers

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.