The University of Iowa is committed to providing Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) that is accessible and usable by all people, including people with disabilities. Where it is not possible to provide fully accessible technology, an Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAAP) must be developed to describe how those affected by the inaccessible product can continue to participate in professional, academic, or other activities.
An Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAAP) is an agreement to provide equivalent access, and a blueprint for doing so. The EEAAP describes how a department or business unit will address accessibility barriers resulting from the use of less-than-accessible technology systems. It describes what will be done, who is affected, who is accountable, what is needed, a timeline for action, and other considerations. Equally Effective Alternate Access Plans should be developed and maintained by the unit that is accountable for the technology or tool.
An EEAAP is not a substitute for accessibility. Whenever possible, technology providers should seek out and procure accessible technologies to conduct University business.
What’s in an EEAAP
You should develop your Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAAP) in a way that best meets the needs of your program. Keep a copy of the plan available, and review it from time to time with the person or people responsible for executing the plan. EEAAPs can take different forms depending on circumstances, but should answer the following questions:
- Who is responsible for implementing the plan?
- What activity or activities are supported by the technology?
- Are there known or suspected accessibility issues with the technology?
- How can participants engage in those activities if the technology is not accessible?
- How will alternative access be provided to those participants?
- What steps and timeline are necessary for the vendor or developer to correct the issue?
Vendor or Developer Engagement
Part of creating an EEAAP is acknowledging that you are aware of potential accessibility deficits in a tool or technology used by your program. Your EEAAP should provide for proactive, immediate, and ongoing engagement with the vendor or developer to determine how known and potential accessibility issues will be addressed.
Any arrangement with the vendor or developer to correct accessibility issues should be documented in the EEAAP.
When to create an Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan
An EEAAP is appropriate for virtually any tool or technology. Create an EEAAP if:
- You identify a potential accessibility barrier in your current technology
- Your technology is required for classroom, employment, or other participation
- Your technology is in wide use
- You will employ the technology for multiple semesters or years
- You are unable to obtain accessible technology that meets your needs
- Accessibility documentation discloses accessibility barriers
- Accessibility documentation is incomplete, out-of-date, or unavailable
When to implement an EEAAP
The EEAAP is a key part of your response to an accessibility issue. Implement your EEAAP when:
- You become aware that the technology presents an accessibility issue for a specific user
- You become aware that the technology presents an accessibility issue for a class of users
- You become aware of a participant with a disability who is likely or required to use the technology
Because accessibility defects may emerge after a product has been deployed, the EEAAP should be considered a living document, subject to periodic review and revision.