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Jude Davis 919 515-1075
Saroj Primlani 919 515-4087

Web Page Accessibility Regulation now official
You don't have to be a person with disabilities to benefit from web accessibility.

Do you want to browse the Web using a handheld device or hear web content read by your computer? Do you learn better by reading lectures instead of hearing them online? Do you wish you could enlarge small print on web pages, navigate web pages without a computer mouse, or know the intended meaning of complicated online graphs? If you have any of these common preferences, then you should be pleased to learn that the NC State Web Page Accessibility Regulation is now official.

The Regulation, which has gone through 18 versions since it was first drafted in 2001, was unanimously approved by NC State's Executive Officers on March 3, 2006. It is now posted on university’s official Policies, Regulations and Rules website:

The Regulation implements the university's Web accessibility Policy Statement:

"NC State is committed to making all official Web content and other electronic information associated with university administration, services, courses or instruction programs and activities conform to widely accepted Web accessibility standards and requirements."

Unlike individual accommodations for people with disabilities, the new Regulation requires that people who create official NC State web pages use coding and formatting standards that enable the broadest range of people, including those with disabilities, to access online information and services. In most cases, these accessibility features are not difficult to implement. Without them, people with certain functional limitations or those who use assistive technologies may be excluded from equitable access to online resources, which is a violation of civil rights legislation.

The web accessibility standards specified in the Regulation are those published by the Federal Access Board. These standards are used by the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, as well as for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act compliance. By recommendation of the Deans Council, the deadline for retrofitting existing official university web pages to meet these standards was changed to the start of the spring semester, 2007.

Web page accessibility enables people to output and input information on the web in multiple ways, so it is an advantage for people with differing learning styles or computer devices, as well as those with disabilities.

"The Regulation has been crafted to foster both innovation and accessibility, as is appropriate to the highest goals of NC State," said Sam Averitt, vice provost for information technology. "Having an official Web Page Accessibility Regulation will further advance our campus in this important but often neglected area of diversity and civil rights."

"Thanks to the cooperative efforts of many, the university has made excellent progress in achieving web accessibility for its major sites and online services," reported Saroj Primlani, university coordinator of IT accessibility. "There is a growing amount of accessiblity expertise, and many training opportunities and tools available to help implement the Regulation."

“NC State should also be proud of the leading-edge work being done in the field of accessible web applications and content," she said. "Registration and Records’ Pack Tracks, the videos produced by the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Biomedical Communications, the new Virtual Computing Lab developed by the College of Engineering and High Performance Computing provide a few examples of how accessibility is being integrated into the university’s web and technology-rich learning environment.”

For more information about web accessibility, including software tools, training opportunities, and tutorials see the AccessibleIT@NC State website:.