HUIT Policy


HUIT is committed to supporting an information technology (IT) environment that enables the broadest possible community participation in Harvard’s education and research missions. In accord with this commitment, and with the knowledge that accessible digital content generally enhances usability for everyone, HUIT seeks to procure and deploy digital tools and content designed and developed to be accessible to people with disabilities, including those who use assistive technologies. In doing so, HUIT is guided by the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA standards for IT accessibility.


For existing websites and applications, each applicable HUIT department will incorporate accessibility into its development roadmap, whenever applications are scheduled for a minor or major upgrade. Developers and content creators will unit test their code and/or content for accessibility. In addition, accessibility testing should occur as part of the test environment to stage environment deployment process. Any accessibility issues identified should be remediated before the application can move to production.

New applications, whether developed in house or purchased from a vendor, should conform to WCAG 2.0, Level AA guidelines. Vendor contracts for purchases of information technology1 should include the Accessibility Rider (OGC Model Documents webpage). [Note: Download the ‘Harvard Digital Accessibility Requirements: Contract Rider’ Word document; Harvard Key is required.]

It is expected that any accessibility issues identified through testing or end user feedback ordinarily will be fixed within 12 months.

Temporary Exception Process

If a department believes it needs an exception to the policy stated above, it must complete a Temporary Exception Process form, which must be submitted to its Managing Director to review. The Managing Director will determine whether to grant or deny the exception. Temporary Exception Process forms, along with documentation of whether requested exceptions were granted or denied, will be kept on file for periodic review by the CIO’s Senior Leadership Team.

[1] For these purposes, “information technology” includes software; server-based, personal computer, mobile device, and web-based applications; website design, development, hosting, maintenance, and archiving services; cloud-based applications and information processing or storage services; digital hardware interfaces; and digital database configurations and interfaces.