1605 Web Accessibility Policy

Responsible Official: 
Responsible Office: 
Information Technology Services
Effective Date: 
March 1, 2018
Revision Date: 
March 26, 2021

Policy Sections

1605.1 Accessibility Standard

1605.2 University Websites

1605.3 Responsibility for Compliance

1605.4 Undue Burden and Non-Availability

1605.5 Specific Requests Regarding the Accessibility of University Websites


This Policy establishes requirements for staff, faculty, and students to procure, develop and modify University Websites so that they are accessible to people with disabilities.  Staff, faculty, and students who manage websites and web applications that are not under the auspices of Yale University are encouraged to adopt the University’s standards set forth in this Policy.

Policy Statement

Yale University is committed to making information, programs and activities on its websites and web-based applications accessible to people with disabilities.  The University recognizes that websites and web-based applications are often integral to the academic and administrative work of the University.  This Policy addresses the needs of individuals with disabilities who wish to use the University Websites to participate in University programs and activities and/or conduct University Business.

Reason for the Policy

This Policy is established to promote an accessible University environment online.


University Business

Activities that are carried out under the auspices of Yale University.

University Websites

Websites and web-based applications on Yale-controlled domains that are used to conduct University Business.


People with disabilities are able to independently use a website or web application.

Site Owner

The individual designated by the cognizant Dean, Vice President, Chair and/or Director of a University unit who is responsible for each University Website within their purview.


An individual or entity engaged by the University through staff, faculty, or students to furnish a University Website or services relating to the development, design, production, or maintenance of a University Website.

Policy Sections

To meet the requirements of this Policy, University Websites should be in compliance with the most recent version of or successor standards to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) 2.0 Level AA, as published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (the “Standards”).  In this document, websites that follow the standards will be referred to as accessible.  A variety of evaluation methods should be used to test the accessibility of web pages and resources, including automated testing, user testing (including the use of assistive technology), and expert evaluation.  For help evaluating your site, please see Procedure 1605 PR.01 Web Accessibility Procedure.

It is the policy of the University that all content provided through University Websites be accessible. All new University Websites that are created or undergo substantial revisions or redesign after September 1, 2018, are required to be accessible.  Substantial revisions include the adoption of/migration to a new platform, modification of the majority of the content, or another change that substantially alters usability or design.  In addition, University Website owners who manage sites that are maintained, upgraded, or updated by Suppliers are required to assure that the Supplier deliver accessible technology and/or content when the contract is renewed.

The Accessibility Steering Committee may require that an owner of any existing website establish a plan for ensuring accessibility.

This Policy applies to University Websites, regardless of whether they are built by Yale staff or Suppliers.  Consistent with Policy 3201 General Purchasing, contracts for new or substantially revised or redesigned University Websites must be approved through Procurement.

In addition, all University Websites must include a clear notice that affirms the University’s commitment to accessibility and must provide a user-friendly way for individuals to report accessibility issues.  For more details, please see Procedure 1605 PR.01 Web Accessibility Procedure.

It is the responsibility of each cognizant Dean, Vice President, Chair and/or Director to assure that University Websites within their areas comply with this Policy and to identify a Yale employee to serve as a Site Owner.  For more details, please see Procedure 1605 PR.01 Web Accessibility Procedure.

The Steering Committee may require that some or all non-compliant portions of a University Website be brought into compliance by designated staff or Suppliers, and the expense of that work may be charged to the unit that is responsible for assuring the accessibility of that information.

Where compliance is not technically feasible or may require extraordinary measures due to the nature of the information or the purpose of the University Website (e.g., it would create an undue hardship by fundamentally altering the site), a request for exception can be made.  Insufficient funds of a particular unit will not be considered a valid reason for an exception.  Site Owners requesting an exception may be required to submit an accommodation plan detailing how the unit will make information from its University Website available in an alternative format to individuals with a disability.  For details on how to submit an exception request, please see Procedure 1605 PR.01 Web Accessibility Procedure.

Upon a specific request by an individual with a disability who is unable to access specific content on a University Website, that University Website must be updated to be in compliance with the Standards or the content must otherwise be made available in a reasonable and effective accessible format in a timely manner.  The unit responsible for the creation and maintenance of the information on this website is responsible for making it accessible or providing the reasonable and effective alternative.

Roles & Responsibilities

Information Technology Services and other Yale website development providers

  • Assure that University Websites they develop or procure comply with this Policy.

Lead Administrators

  • Help promote awareness of and support for this Policy.

Student Accessibility Services

  • Facilitate individual accommodations for current or prospective Yale students with disabilities.

Office of Institutional Equity and Accessibility

  • Facilitate individual accommodations for current or prospective Yale employees with disabilities.

Office of Procurement

  • Assure that contracts with Suppliers seeking to develop or provide University Websites hold Suppliers accountable to the Standards.

ITS Digital Accessibility Team

  • Provide information on accessibility standards and best practices.
  • Track remediation of reported accessibility problems.
  • Track accessibility language in contracts, including roadmaps and dates for follow-up with suppliers.
  • Track accommodation plans for University Websites that do not comply with the Standards.

Accessibility Steering Committee

  • Provide oversight of accessibility efforts, including ongoing review of the Policy and procedures and any proposed updates or revisions.
  • Review requests for Policy exceptions and determine appropriate disposition.

Site Owner

  • Assure that University Websites for which they are responsible comply with this Policy.