Nonvisual Standards for Arkansas 

Arkansas Nonvisual Standards

Act 1227 of 1999 requires the Arkansas Department of Information Systems to develop a "technology access clause" requiring "compliance with nonvisual access standards established by the state" to be "included in all contracts for the procurement of information technology by, or for the use of, entities covered by this act".

The following nonvisual standards are in response to this legislation, drafted through the Arkansas State Information Technology Planning Working Group process.

The purpose of these standards is to ensure that the needs of Arkansans who are blind or visually impaired are met through reasonable accommodation in the information technology products and services of the state. Information technology products and services include data, voice, and video technologies, as well as information dissemination methods.

1. Effective, interactive control and use of the technology including, but not limited to, the operating system, applications programs, and format of the data presented, must be readily achievable by nonvisual means.

The intent is to make sure that all newly procured information technology equipment, software and services can be upgraded or augmented to accommodate the blind and visually impaired. These provisions do not require the installation of software or peripheral devices used for nonvisual access when the information technology is being used by individuals who are not blind or visually impaired.

2. Technology equipped for nonvisual access must be compatible with information technology used by other individuals with whom the blind or visually impaired individual must interact.

3. Nonvisual access technology must be able to be integrated into networks used to share communications among employees, program participants, and the public.

4. Technology for nonvisual access must have the capability of providing equivalent access by nonvisual means to telecommunications or other interconnected network services used by persons who are not blind or visually impaired.

5. These provisions do not prohibit the purchase or use of an information technology product that does not meet these standards provided that either:
(a) there is no available means by which the product can be made nonvisually accessible and there is no alternate product which is or can be made nonvisually accessible; or
(b) the information manipulated or presented by the product is inherently visual in nature, i.e. its meaning cannot be conveyed nonvisually.