This document summarizes what an alternate access plan includes and consists of.
Individuals requesting an Exception for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) must provide an Alternate Access Plan (AAP) that will provide equally effective alternative access, unless such an alternative is not possible due to technological constraints or if the intended purpose of the ICT does not allow for an alternative (e.g., virtual reality goggles). “Equally effective alternative access” means an alternative format, medium, or other aid that will provide a substantially equivalent and timely alternative way to access the information or experience and which is appropriate to an individual's disability. Technologies used within a very limited scope for administration or research may receive an exception without an alternative access plan. AAPs are reviewed and approved as part of the ICT accessibility Exception Request process. Exception Requests are reviewed by the Technology Accessibility Review Committee (TARC).
An Alternate Access Plan (AAP) must provide a way of removing the barriers caused by the accessibility flaw(s) in the ICT. It should document how an effective “alternative means of access” will be provided and how the existence of that access will be communicated to those who may need it. It is the application requestor’s responsibility to devise and document the AAP. The TARC will work with the exception requestor(s) to ensure that their AAP is sufficient to provide access and to determine how long the exception is needed. A template for the AAP can be downloaded from the IT Accessibility website.
AAPs are specific to mitigating the impact of non-conforming ICT features. Because they are part of an Exception Request, they are usually not permanent. If the exception is approved, the alternative access plan must be implemented and maintained as long as the excepted ICT is in use. It is the requestor’s responsibility to review excepted ICTs periodically to see if they are still required. Reviewing the AAP to ensure that it is still effective should occur periodically as well. Requestor’s will be asked to demonstrate the effectiveness of the AAP as part of the ICT exception renewal process. Product updates frequently introduce new accessibility issues or modifications that can affect the AAP. Units should work with their IT Accessibility Liaison to determine a plan for periodic review of the product.