What is the Purpose of an Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan? (EEAAP)

When ICT products or services do not fully conform to Section 508 accessibility standards, an EEAAP provides a pre-planned alternate access method that bypasses known accessibility barriers. With an EEAAP, users who may be affected by known accessibility barriers will have a way to get relief and reduce the burden accessibility barriers may present. In addition, the EEAAP process makes barriers known to the end-user upfront before they interact with the product; these choices save time and reduce frustration for those that may be affected.

Note that an EEAAP is not an accommodation plan; EEAAPs are created in a proactive fashion to address specific technology barriers and name alternate solutions to that technology that will apply to a group of affected users. Accommodations are reactive and occur on a per person basis. If an EEAAP states "contact OSD for asistance" then it has been created incorrectly.

When is an EEAAP Created?

As technology is rarely 100% accessible, EEAAPs are usually created during the accessible procurement process, especially if a high-impact product or service has a significant accessibility barrier. Occasionally, an EEAAP is required later when accessibility barriers are discovered once the technology has been in use. A common reason for creating an EEAAP later includes product revisions that negatively impact accessibility or if a vendor has not addressed known issues.

To recap, an EEAAP is required when:

  • The technology has a significant accessibility barrier (an issue that would prevent someone from using the technology for its intended purpose or "core function")

And when any of the following are also true:

  • The technology isn't for a single user but for multiple users
  • The technology is a required component for a student's coursework or an employee's workflow
  • The technology is intended to be used for the foreseeable future (not a pilot)

Ensuring an EEAAP is High Quality

A thoughtful EEAAP will indicate:

  • Clear information about the product's known accessibility barrier(s) 
  • Who may be affected, including scenarios or use-cases
  • Any technology dependencies that either cause the issue or are part of a workaround
  • A solution that provides the same or similar outcomes and convenience for the end-user
  • Personnel and resources required to provide an alternative solution
  • How and by which means a user will get help if they experience a problem
  • Frequent revisions, at least annually, and to coincide with technology renewal or significant updates to the technology

What an EEAAP should not contain:

  • Generic accommodation statements instructing the student to contact the Office to Students with Disabilities (OSD)
  • Generic support statements include "contact (XYZ support) for assistance."
  • Personnel named in an EEAAP solution must be aware of their role, and they should actively participate during the EEAAP process. Do not name personnel without making those individuals aware of their role in contributing to an alternative solution.

Answering EEAAP Questions

  • Description of the barriers: Describe the identified accessibility barriers; typically, they inhibit the product's core function and are listed on the VPAT, Roadmap, or discovered during an interface evaluation.
  • Which users will be affected by identified accessibility barriers? Users that rely on keyboard navigation or are visually impaired, for example.
  • Describe the learning outcomes desired using this ICT: How is the requestor using the product, and what are the intended results for the end-user?
  • Describe alternative methods to achieve those learning outcomes that do not rely on the technology with an accessibility barrier: With the learning outcomes in mind, formulate an alternative solution that provides the same sort of experience for the end-user.
  • Resources required to accomplish an alternative solution: List them if additional resources are needed to provide an alternative solution.
  • Staff members responsible for arranging alternatives: Name the staff member who will ensure that the alternative solution is available.
  • Accessibility Statement: Formulate an accessibility statement and post it conspicuously wherever the technology is used.

Steps to Create an EEAAP

Review the sections below before creating your EEAAP to ensure an effective outcome.

Enlist your College or Division ITC

The Information Technology Consultant (ITC) assigned to your college or division will assist with any technical solutions present in an EEAAP. An updated list of ITCs is available on the Information Technology Services webpage. Ask your ITC to review this page and let them know that you need to create an EEAAP. A faculty or staff member can create an EEAAP or ask your ITC for assistance.

Complete the EEAAP in ServiceNow

Once all parties involved in creating an EEAAP or those names as part of an EEAAP workaround have reviewed this webpage, either the faculty or staff member using the technology or their ITC should complete the EEAAP in ServiceNow. It may be helpful to collaborate via Zoom when completing the form to ensure that all questions are completed expeditiously.

Submit an EEAAP in ServiceNow

Publish an Accessibility Statement

Once the EEAAP form is completed, you will need to alert end-users of accessibility barriers with the technology in use. An accessibility statement summarizes the known issues up-front to avoid frustration. More importantly, the accessibility statement will provide straightforward methods for users to contact someone familiar with the limitations and request assistance. For faculty, an accessibility statement should be present on the course syllabus. In addition, if the technology is accessed or users are directed to an external resource from a website under Cal State LA's control, an accessibility statement should also be present on our website to alert users of the known accessibility barriers and methods to request support.

Here's an example of language you could use to create an accessibility statement:

"technology XYZ" Accessibility Statement 

This course utilizes "technology XYZ," which has known accessibility barriers. The issues identified will affect users who require "known accessibility barriers" to access the technology. We have arranged an alternative for those users who may be affected. Please contact "person, via email, phone," to receive support.