According to the State of Texas Department of Information Resources, “Electronic and Information Resources (EIR) accessibility means providing electronic information and services through multiple ways so that communication is not contingent on a single sense or ability.” Creating, utilizing and procuring accessible EIR allows those with disabilities to access information that everyone else can.
It’s the law
Accessibility should always be considered when developing websites, preparing instructional materials, and throughout procurement processes. State agencies and institutions of higher education are required to comply with Texas EIR Accessibility statutes and rules including:
- TGC 2054.451, enacted in 2005, requires that all state agencies and institutions of higher education, provide state employees and members of the public access to and use of electronic information resources.
- 1 TAC 206, aligns state web accessibility standards with the federal regulations set forth in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- 1 TAC 213 enacted state standards for procurement, development, or usage of EIR for people with disabilities and also aligns accessibility standards with the federal regulations set forth in Section 508.
Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) is committed to making our EIR accessible to everyone, and we take care to adhere to standards set forth within:
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- Section 508 Subsection 1194.22 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) standards listed above
- The Texas A&M University System Policies and Regulations, specifically 29.01.04 Accessibility of Electronic and Information Resources
- Texas A&M University (TAMU) Rules and SAPs, specifically
- Texas A&M Health Science Center Guidelines, specifically 29.01.04.Z1.01 Accessibility of Electronic and Information Resources
Web content providers, instructors and those involved in procurement processes within TAMHSC should be aware of the needs of people with impairments involving vision, hearing, motor skills, cognitive ability and speech and act accordingly to ensure that resources provided are accessible.
Pending policies and legislation
U.S. Access Board Rule pending approval
The U.S. Access Board has released for public comment a proposed rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The proposed rule would:
- jointly update guidelines for telecommunications equipment subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act
- update various requirements to address fundamental shifts and trends in the market, such as the convergence of technologies and the increasingly multi-functional capabilities of products like smart phones
- promote consistency with other requirements in the U.S. and abroad in order to improve accessibility and to facilitate compliance
A leading reference, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), is incorporated into the rule and applied to web-based content as well as to offline documents and software. The proposed rule specifies the technologies covered and contains performance-based criteria as well as technical requirements for hardware, software, and support documentation and services.
Access is addressed for all types of disabilities, including those pertaining to vision, hearing, color perception, speech, manual dexterity, reach, and strength. The proposed rule is based on recommendations from the Board’s Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC) which comprised a broad cross-section of stakeholders representing industry, disability groups, government agencies, and other countries. It also incorporates public feedback the Board received through the release of two advance drafts of the rule.
For more information about accessibility policies or best practices, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.