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Accessibility > Laws, Policies, and Guidelines > University Policies > Hardware Accessibility Standards
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Hardware Accessibility

Hardware to be developed, purchased or acquired by the University of Minnesota shall be accessible for use by persons with disabilities. "Hardware" is not limited to assistive technologies used by people with disabilities, but rather it applies to the development, procurement, maintenance, or use of all electronic and information technologies (e.g., computers and peripherals, telecommunications products, video and multimedia products, copiers and fax machines).

All University contracts and grants should contain a provision requiring the contractor or grantee to comply with the university policy and standards. This means that colleges, departments, programs and other university entities should take steps to ensure that information technology, services, products (purchased, leased, or developed with university funds or other funds received by grant or contract from any other state or federal agency) meet the University of Minnesota accessibility requirements. To ensure that the requirements are satisfied, it is recommended that each contract signed with a hardware vendor contain the provision set forth below or substantially similar language.

  • Vendor hereby warrants that the products or services to be provided under this agreement comply with the University of Minnesota accessibility requirements.
  • Vendor agrees to promptly respond to and resolve any complaint regarding accessibility of its products or services which is brought to its attention.
  • Vendor further agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the University of Minnesota or any university entity using the vendor's products or services from any claim arising out of its failure to comply with the aforesaid requirements.
  • Failure to comply with these requirements shall constitute a breach and be grounds for termination of this agreement.


Keys, Keyboards and Keypads

  • Provide an option for ignoring brief or repeated keystrokes.
  • Provide an option for adjusting key-repeat and key-activation latencies (the amount of time a key is held down before an event is triggered).
  • Provide an option for adjusting key-repeat rate.
  • Provide an option for auditory feedback of toggle key status.
  • Provide tactile feedback of key status (e.g., keys that remain depressed when activated).
  • Provide key status information to software.

Touch Operated Controls

  • Provide controls that can be discerned tactilely without activating them.
  • Provide raised borders around controls on flat-membrane interfaces.
  • Provide tactile landmarks (bumps or depressions) on "home" keys.
  • provide tactile landmarks on the keys, rather than above or below them.
  • Provide non-visual means of distinguishing controls and control clusters (e.g., shape, texture and/or layout).
  • Provide a key guard or overlay option.
  • When a touch-screen interface is used, provide redundant physical controls.

Controls and Latches

  • Provide at least one mode that is operable with limited reach, strength and/or dexterity.
  • Provide at least one mode that does not require simultaneous actions.
  • Provide at least one mode that does not require a response time. Alternatively, a response time may be required if it can be by-passed or adjusted by the user.

Drives and Removable Media

  • Drive openings and related controls shall be positioned as not to require extended-reach or manual dexterity.
  • Drive openings and related controls shall be tactilely discernible.

Standard Ports

  • Provide industry standard serial, parallel and USB ports.
  • If an external display is supported, provide a standard display connection.
  • Provide industry standard audio input and output jacks.

Audio Output

  • Provide software access to system sounds (alerts and hardware-generated sounds).
  • Provide an option for visual feedback of warning sounds and other audio indicators.
  • Flashing visual indicators of system sounds, warning sounds and other audio output shall do so at a frequency of less than twice a second (2 Hz) or greater than 55 times a second (55 Hz) in order to reduce the likelihood of inducing a seizure in users with photo sensitive epilepsy.
  • Provide an audio output jack.
  • Provide a physical volume control.
  • Indicate, both visually and tactilely, when the volume is in the off position.


  • Provide methods for adjusting the height and angle of a display.
  • Locate displays to reduce screen glare from direct sun-light or artificial lighting.
  • Provide non-reflective display surfaces or non-glare filters.

Color and Contrast

  • Provide redundant indicators (e.g., Text, layout, shape/texture and audio) for color identifiers, alerts/warnings, prompts or feedback.
  • Provide color combinations of significant brightness and contrast.

Documentation and Technical Support

  • Provide documentation and training materials in alternative accessible formats upon request.
  • Provide accessibility knowledgeable customer support.
  • Ensure that any training provided by manufacturers, providers or other parties accommodates the functional capabilities of all participants.

Biometric Identification

  • Provide a non-biometric identification alternative.
  • Provide alternative types of biometric identification.