Northwestern Digital Access Guidelines
Northwestern has established the following guidelines with respect to existing Northwestern websites, website development and purchases.
- All personnel responsible for existing Northwestern websites must use good faith efforts, subject to the requirements and exceptions of the applicable laws, to bring websites into conformance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA.
- New website development and purchases, including development and purchases for major revisions and updates of existing Northwestern websites, should conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA.
- Vendors seeking to develop or provide websites or web-based applications for Northwestern should provide a relevant Voluntary Product Accessibility Template to demonstrate that their products satisfy WCAG 2.0 Level AA success criteria unless an undue burden or fundamental alteration can be demonstrated.
- Each Northwestern website should contain “accessibility” contact information for the site’s webmaster. The contact information may take a variety of forms, such as an email address, a link to a "Help" page, or a contact form on the site. The recommended location for this information is the website’s “Contact” or “About Us” page.
- Information Technology will oversee periodic testing of Northwestern websites for accessibility and report accessibility issues to the webmaster for that website.
- AccessibleNU and the Office of Equity will continue to seek input from students and employees, respectively, regarding accessibility issues.
Responding to Digital Accessibility Issues
Recognizing the ongoing evolution of current web content and technologies, the designated webmaster for a particular site, upon being made aware of an accessibility issue by someone accessing that site (i.e., "user"), will acknowledge receipt of the issue in writing (via email) to the user raising the issue, with a copy to the Office of Equity. The Office of Equity will take the following actions:
- Work with appropriate campus partners to verify the nature of the issue.
- If the web accessibility issue is reported directly to the Office of Equity, the Office of Equity will notify the site's webmaster.
- Open an accessibility case for recording the issue and resulting action taken.
- Respond to the issue in a prompt and effective manner.
If it is determined that the information or service provided on the website cannot be made accessible, or that doing so would constitute an undue burden or fundamental alteration, the appropriately designated office (AccessibleNU for students; Office of Equity for faculty and staff) will engage in an interactive process with the user about alternative methods for providing the information or service and will provide an equally effective alternative format or service. In the event that an alternative format or service cannot be provided or the user is not satisfied with the results, he or she may contact the Section 504 Compliance Officer at email@example.com for assistance in resolving the issue.