Accessibility Standards for Procurement of Digital Content, Resources, and Technology

Title

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Standards for Procurement of Digital Content, Resources, and Technology

Introduction

Purpose

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to providing a welcoming and equitable digital experience.

This Standard provides requirements for the procurement of accessible Digital Content, Resources, and Technology (“Digital Material”).

Implementing this standard will ensure that all individuals have access to Digital Material purchased by or on behalf of the University in compliance with the Policy on Digital Accessibility and with governing law.

Scope of Applicability

This Standard applies to all University Constituents and third parties, under circumstances within the University’s control, who procure University Digital Material used when conducting University Business.

This Standard applies to all University Digital Material regardless of audience or authentication required, including, but not limited to:

  • Websites
  • Video and audio content
  • Electronic documents
  • Desktop, mobile, and cloud-based software applications
  • Content management systems and learning management systems
  • Interactive tools and platforms
  • Email and calendars
  • Library resources
  • Social media
  • Digital research products
  • Digital content and materials used in a course

Standard

All Digital Material procured by or on behalf of the University following the effective date of this Standard must adhere to the Standard on Accessibility of Digital Content, Resources, and Technology.

Following are the requirements for three common phases of procurement.

The Search Process

When searching for Digital Material, a University unit initiating the procurement of the Digital Material (Customer Unit) must attempt to obtain a copy of the Product’s Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). The VPAT will assist in identifying the product’s level of accessibility. The Customer Unit should request a VPAT if the vendor has not provided a public VPAT in their Product’s information.

The Purchase and Contract Process

When procuring any Digital Material, the Customer Unit must obtain information demonstrating that the Product or service will meet the Standard on Accessibility of Digital Content, Resources, and Technology. The Customer Unit must request a VPAT and Accessibility Roadmap. If the vendor cannot provide information demonstrating that the Product or service will meet the Standard on Accessibility of Digital Content, Resources, and Technology, the University must obtain an exception as described below in order to procure the Product or service.

If the purchase is greater than or equal to $5,000 and the intended user base is greater than 100 people, the Customer Unit must ensure the contract with the vendor includes assurances of continued accessibility as a Product is updated and new releases become available. This language must also ensure that the vendor will provide a VPAT for the current version of the Product upon request. An updated VPAT must be requested for all major updates or changes to the Product.

The Customer unit is responsible for evaluating and confirming the compliance with the Standard on Accessibility of Digital Content, Resources, and Technology of Digital Material they obtain. This includes evaluating the VPAT, Digital Accessibility Roadmap, or other information obtained. For procurements in excess of the threshold above, this includes certification of the evaluation performed in the procurement process.

The University reserves the right to review all Digital Materials procured to ensure compliance. Units are responsible for costs resulting from noncompliance of Digital Materials they have procured.

The Renewal Process

Contract renewal provides an opportunity to address or re-address accessibility. When renewing a contract with a vendor, a Customer Unit must ensure the Product or service meets the Standard on Accessibility of Digital Content, Resources, and Technology. The Customer Unit must request an updated VPAT and/or Accessibility Roadmap.

If the purchase is greater than or equal to $5,000 and the intended user base is greater than 100 people, the Customer Unit must ensure the contract with the vendor includes assurances of continued accessibility as a Product is updated and new releases become available. This language must also ensure that the vendor will provide a VPAT for the current version of the Product upon request. If the vendor cannot provide a VPAT, Accessibility Roadmap, or other evidence of compliance with the Standard on Accessibility of Digital Content, Resources, and Technology, the Customer Unit must follow the exception process included below prior to renewing the contract.

Contract extensions may be contingent upon the resolution of issues or satisfactory progress toward resolving identified issues. Units are responsible for costs resulting from noncompliance of Digital Materials they have procured.

Vendor Non-Compliance Issues

If any issues arise regarding the vendor’s compliance with applicable federal or State disability laws, policies, and regulations, the responsible University Constituent may request that the vendor reply to the University within three (3) business days. The University Constituent and the vendor will create a plan to resolve the issues. This roadmap must be acceptable to the University. In the event that the issues remain unresolved, see Finance Procedure 1216.1 for instructions on filing a vendor complaint.

Exceptions

1. Minimal Use

If Digital Material will be used by one individual or a small number of identified individual(s) (such as a small office or a research lab), and the responsible Customer Unit confirms that the Digital Material is Accessible to the identified individuals, a de minimis exception applies to the procurement or development of such Digital Material. The Digital Material is not subject to the evaluation or remediation requirements of this Standard, and there is no requirement to provide an Equally Effective Alternative. This exception no longer applies when the Digital Material is used by individuals other than those originally identified when the Digital Material was developed or procured. Therefore, this exception shall not be used when Digital Material is intended for long-term use or by unknown future users. This exception also no longer applies when an individual notifies the Customer Unit of an accessibility need related to the Digital Material. Once the exception no longer applies, the Digital Material is subject to all requirements of this Standard, including those related to identification and remediation of accessibility issues and to availability of an Equally Effective Alternative.

2. Fundamental Alteration or Undue Burden

If an Equally Effective Alternative cannot be provided because doing so would impose a Fundamental Alteration or an Undue Burden, or if another requirement of this Standard cannot be met, the Customer Unit responsible for the Digital Material must use the following process to request an exception to this Standard:

  1. Obtain approval from the applicable Customer Unit head to submit the request.
  2. Submit an exception request via help.unc.edu that contains detailed information about efforts to make Accessible the Digital Material and to provide an Equally Effective Alternative. Include information about why it is not possible to make Accessible the Digital Material and why providing an Equally Effective Alternative would impose a Fundamental Alteration or Undue Burden. The Digital Accessibility Office will collect all requests and begin the review process.
  3. Reviews will be conducted by representatives from the Digital Accessibility Office, the Office of University Counsel, the Digital Accessibility Advisory Team, and/or the Digital Accessibility Liaison program. Following appropriate review, the Digital Accessibility Office will notify the unit about whether the exception is approved in as timely a manner as possible.

If the exception request is not approved, the Digital Accessibility Office may assist the Customer Unit in creating an action plan including researching other vendors with similar products or identifying alternative methods to achieve the same functional goals.

A written explanation for an exception will be tracked within the help.unc.edu system and be available upon request. All decisions are final.

Definitions

  • Accessible: Able to be used by all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, with or without assistive technology.
  • Accessibility Roadmap: Timeline for addition of features and fixes specifically related to accessibility improvements.
  • Alternative Format: Content that is similar or identical to the digital content, resources, or technology provides to individual without disabilities, but in a format that produces a different user experience.
  • Customer Unit: University operating unit initiating a procurement activity. The unit responsible for accessibility status of the procured Digital Material.
  • Digital Accessibility Roadmap: Document describing plans to improve accessibility of some Digital Material.
  • Digital Content, Resources, and/or Technology: (also referred to as “Digital Material”) Information, products, and services available for download or distribution in an electronic format or presented on a web page or through a web or other computer application.
  • Equally Effective Alternative: Alternative format or medium that communicates the same information and provides the equivalent functions in as timely a manner as does the original content or resource.
  • Fundamental Alteration: A change so significant that it affects the essential nature of the instruction, program or activity provided.
  • Product: Digital Content, Resources, and Technology being considered for purchase.
  • University Business: Activities carried out on behalf of UNC-Chapel Hill. University Business does not include activities organized or conducted by students when not designated to act on behalf of the University or by student organizations.
  • University Constituents: UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff, students, retirees and other affiliates, contractors, distance learners, visiting scholars, and others who use or access UNC-Chapel Hill resources.
  • Usability: Refers to how easily, effectively, and efficiently individuals can use digital content, resources, or technology to achieve their goals, and their satisfaction with the quality of the experience.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Primary Contacts

ITS Policy Office

  • Unit: Office of the Vice Chancellor for IT and CIO
  • Email: IT_Policies@unc.edu
  • Online: help.unc.edu (service request)

Digital Accessibility Office

  • Unit: Office of the Vice Chancellor for IT and CIO
  • Email: digitalaccessibility@unc.edu
  • Online: help.unc.edu (service request)

Other Contacts

To report a concern with any University Digital Material, please visit the UNC Digital Accessibility Office's "Report a Digital Accessibility Issue" webpage or call 919-962-HELP.

Details

Article ID: 131330
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:06 PM
Modified
Fri 7/23/21 1:09 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
12/07/2020 2:14 PM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
12/07/2020 2:14 PM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
12/17/2019 12:53 PM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
12/17/2019 12:53 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Digital Accessibility Office