Publish Date

As part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring our website remains fully compliant with accessibility standards, we are implementing a critical change in the role permissions for our site publishers. Effective August 1st, all current site publishers will be required to use the Axe Devtools Chrome extension before publishing content to the website. Additionally, a yearly quiz will be administered to ensure an understanding of the accessibility requirements. This decision follows recent digital accessibility requirements set by the Department of Justice (DOJ) concerning digital accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Understanding the DOJ's Ruling

Recent legal developments have underscored the importance of accessibility in digital spaces. The DOJ has clarified that all commercial and public entity websites must offer full accessibility to people with disabilities. This means that every aspect of a website, from images and videos to navigation and interactive features, must be accessible to individuals who use various assistive technologies.

The Need for Change

Our decision to add this additional step is driven by the high-risk nature of non-compliance with these new legal standards. The DOJ's ruling leaves little room for error, and the penalties for non-compliance are more stringent than ever. As publishers have the ability to make content live without prior review, this poses a significant risk that non-compliant material could inadvertently be made public.

Role of All Site Editors and Publishers

There is a new accessibility module installed on the website, which allows to easily see when visiting your site pages, if there are any identified issues that need to be addressed. You can view the live or draft versions of the page to see if there are any issues. The tool only scans the content section of the page so excludes issues related to the page header, footer, and theme.

NOTE: If reviewing the page from the Draft view of the page, with the pink background, you will not be shown the Intro Text field if your site is on the UIS main theme.

screenshot of page with accessibility issues

If you click on the red circle, it will help you navigate through the page to see the issues:

pop up of issues
missing alt text on image error

If you select the Outline tab, the accessibility checker will show you the outline of your page, to help you quickly identify issues.

page outline

When you select the Alt Text tab, you will be show all the page images and any associated alt text, or an error if the alt text is missing.

alt text tab on accessibility checker

Once you have resolved your issues, you will see either a blue checkmark, if the page came back with no issues, you can then submit your page for Needs Review or Publish it, if you have publisher access.

If pages are submitted to the Needs Review that have accessibility issues, they will be sent back to the editor to resolve.

screenshot of web homepage with blue checkmark

Additional Tools

Deque Axe monitoring chrome extension scanning tool, as well as check content against the Content Review Guidelines, prior to publishing. This extra step will ensure that all content meets the necessary accessibility standards before it reaches our audience.

Role of Publishers

Due to these changes in workflow, make sure to provide yourself additional time to take these extra steps to review content for publishing. If ever in doubt, content can be submitted to the Needs Review queue and will be reviewed within 24 - 48 hours, on business days, and published if no issues are found. If the content requires additional updates, the WDS staff will reach out to the website editor with more information. In the event of an emergency and you need immediate updates, email web@uis.edu, high priority with the link to the content.

Loss of Permissions

If publishers are found to publish content that is inaccessible, their permissions will be changed to editor following the 2nd infraction. However, in order to adhere to the new compliance requirements by the Department of Justice, any infraction found after June 24, 2025 will result in automatic loss of publishing permissions.

Training and Support

To assist in this transition, we will be providing additional training annually to all affected staff. This training will cover the specific requirements of the ADA, and best practices for creating and modifying content to meet these standards. Our goal is to empower every team member with the knowledge and skills they need to contribute to our site's compliance and success.

We understand that this change may require an adjustment period for our current publishers, and we appreciate your cooperation and commitment to this essential aspect of our digital presence. By aligning our content creation process more closely with the new compliance requirements, we not only adhere to legal standards but also advance our mission to be an inclusive and accessible platform for all users.

As we try to improve efficiency, there may be additional requirements and changes in the publisher workflow.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and your ongoing efforts to maintain the highest standards of accessibility and compliance. Please email any questions to web@uis.edu.