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Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Standards and Procedures


It is important that accessibility is in the forefront as Mount Holyoke College community members design, build, acquire or use new electronic and information technology (EIT).  This applies to open source or other situations in which software is provided at no cost (free).  All EIT procurement at Mount Holyoke College, including technology that is free, must be done in consultation with LITS (Library, Information & Technology Services) to ensure appropriate compliance steps are followed.  To consult LITS on a software product or service, please fill out this form, and a LITS staff member will be in touch.  When appropriate, LITS staff will obtain compliance documentation from suppliers and negotiate EIT accessibility contract language as part of LITS’ standard processes.

Below is some information about steps that may be required to best address accessibility when selecting and procuring new EIT.  LITS can help facilitate this process.

Initial Steps to Assess Accessibility When Selecting and Procuring New Technologies

Here are some initial steps to assess accessibility when selecting and procuring new technologies.  LITS can help facilitate this process.

  1. Answer four initial questions (to determine relative impact):
    • Is this technology public facing or only available with campus authentication?
    • How many people will see/use this technology?
    • Who will use this technology? (students, faculty, staff, and/or public?)
    • Who requested this technology? (you or someone else?)
  2. Web search:
    • “[PRODUCT NAME]” “accessibility”
    • “[PRODUCT NAME]” “accessibility”
  3. Contact the vendor:
    • “Vendor/Bidder EIT Accessibility Questionnaire" (available below on this page)
  4. Accessibility tests:

Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan (EEAAP)

What is an EEAAP?

EEAAP stands for an “Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan”, and is a tool that colleges and universities develop and implement when technology causes barriers for students with disabilities. Ultimately, the EEAAP answers the question, “How can my user participate in my activity with equivalent ease, timeliness, and independence if they encounter accessibility problems in my technology?”

Why do we develop EEAAPs?

  1. We are required to by law: Legal Obligations for Accessibility 
  2. It is MHC Policy: Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Policy
  3. It’s pedagogically and ethically sound to provide access to learning to ALL students. UDL on Campus EEAAPS information page: see Relevance

When do you need to write an EEAAP?

If your requested software has accessibility barriers or concerns, you will be asked to articulate your learning goals and think about alternative ways to accomplish them. You can proactively prepare by writing a full EEAAP, but you are not required to do so at the time of procurement. If you have a student with a documented accommodation need in your course, you will work with AccessAbility Services to develop an individual plan for that student.

Vendor/Bidder Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Questionnaire

LITS uses the questionnaire below to engage vendors about EIT accessibility and help gather information about accessibility of products and services:

Vendor/Bidder Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Questionnaire

Describe your efforts to be compliant with WCAG 2.1 Level AA for web-based technology, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  1. Does your company have a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for a current version of your product that documents product conformance with Section 508 Standards?          
  2. If your company has a VPAT, please provide it as an attachment in response to this email. If your company does not have a VPAT, please describe your perspective on accessibility and any exceptions you believe are applicable.
  3. Please describe your accessibility conformance testing process.       
  4. Does your company have an Accessibility Roadmap to remediate any accessibility gaps in a reasonable period of time?  An Accessibility Roadmap can be a list and description of accessibility gaps, including current resolution status of each gap and a specific timeline for remediation.  An Accessibility Roadmap also lists any known workarounds to provide end-users access until the vendor has resolved each of the accessibility gaps. If an Accessibility Roadmap is available, please provide it as an attachment in response to this email.       
  5. Can you share with us your company Accessibility Mission Statement or equivalent?      
  6. To whom in your company should we direct our accessibility questions should we have any (name and contact information)?

Script for Vendor Accessibility Demonstrations

LITS may request that vendors provide an Accessibility Demonstration to help the College gather information about the accessibility of products and services.  The script below is provided for vendors to use during their Accessibility Demonstrations:

Script for Vendor Accessibility Demonstrations

  1. Demonstration of functionality without a mouse, using a keyboard only.  For reference, see the no mouse challenge.   Install and utilize the Force Focus Bookmarklet to enhance focus as necessary during the demonstration.

  2. Demonstration of user experience navigating and interacting with a variety of product functions using a desktop screen reader such as JAWS and/or NVDA.

  3. Demonstration of user options for selection of color contrast and styles.  Provide demonstration of the free pre-installed tool Paciello Colour Contrast Analyser during conversation about color contrast.

  4. Demonstration of user interface response to screen magnification assistive technologies such as ZoomText.  Include a demonstration, as appropriate, of the product’s response to 200% zoom using the browser's zoom function.

  5. Install the WebAIM WAVE Browser Tool and walk through the user interface.

  6. Provide information about the accessibility of interfaces for system administrators.

Prior to an Accessibility Demonstration, review the Mount Holyoke College Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Standards and Procedures, specifically the sections on Purchasing/Procurement and Web Accessibility.

Accessibility Evaluations of Electronic and Information Technologies

The Mount Holyoke College Technology Access Committee can help facilitate accessibility evaluations of EIT products and services.  Please email with questions about additional best practices in selecting procuring accessible products and services.

MHC Accessibility Barriers Form