Nonvisual Access Guidance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is the intent of the State information technology nonvisual access regulations?
  2. What activities do the regulations cover?
  3. How do the State nonvisual access regulations relate to the State Nonvisual Access Clause required in IT procurements?
  4. Do the regulations apply to my agency?
  5. How do the State nonvisual access regulations relate to the federal standards for universal accessibility (federal Section 508)?
  6. How are current systems and in-process procurements to be treated?
  7. How will agencies indicate compliance with these regulations?
  8. What are the exceptions?
  9. Where do I find guidance for implementing these regulations at my agency?
  10. Do the regulations apply to State information technologies that are not used by the general public?
  11. Does an agency driver improvement training application have to be nonvisually accessible?
  12. Are the nonvisual access regulations applicable to the procurement of faxes and copiers?
  13. Are all documents produced by our agency required to be nonvisually accessible?
  14. Will the State Chief of Information Technology provide a list of recommended compliant IT products to State agencies?

  1. These regulations are intended to ensure the nonvisual accessibility of State information technologies to citizens and State employees with visual disabilities.

    In enacting State Finance and Procurement Article, §3A-303(5), Annotated Code of Maryland, the Maryland General Assembly mandated the adoption and enforcement of information technology nonvisual access standards outlined in COMAR 14.33.02.01.A.
     

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  2. The regulations cover all State agency information technology procurement and services activities beginning March 1, 2005.
       
    The regulations provide uniform standards in support of the Nonvisual Access Clause (COMAR 21.05.08.05) used in the procurement of information technologies by or on behalf of agencies.
       
    In addition, the standards support the provision of information technology nonvisually accessible services performed by or on behalf of agencies.

    COMAR 14.33.02.01.B
     

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  3. The regulations provide the standards to determine if information technology and information technology services are nonvisually accessible. The agency procurement officer determines whether the nonvisual access clause is not required, as mandated by COMAR 21.05.08.05.B.

    COMAR 14.33.02.03.A.

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  4. The regulations apply to all agencies and public institutions of higher education in the Executive Branch of State government, with the exception of the following:

    1. Public institutions of higher education solely for academic or research purposes;
    2. The Maryland Port Administration;
    3. The University System of Maryland;
    4. St. Mary’s College of Maryland; or
    5. Morgan State University.
       
    State Finance and Procurement Article §3A-302

    COMAR 14.33.01.01 (click on "Definitions and General Provisions")
     

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  5. Federal Section 508 mandates information technology universal accessibility. State statute mandates information technology nonvisual accessibility. Consequently, the State has adopted or paraphrased many, but not all, 'Section 508' regulations. In addition, Maryland has adopted several information technology nonvisual access regulations that are not found in federal regulations. Maryland information technology nonvisual access standards effective March 1, 2005 are COMAR 14.33.02.01-.12. The following table shows the relationship of federal Section 508 to the regulations.

    36 CFR 1194 (Section 508) MD Action COMAR
    1194.1 Paraphrased 14.33.02.01.A.
    1194.2(a) Paraphrased 14.33.02.01.B.
    1194.2(a)(1) Rejected --
    1194.2(a)(2) Rejected --
    1194.2(b) Paraphrased 14.33.02.03.B.
    14.33.02.03.C.
    1194.2(c) Paraphrased 14.33.02.03.A.
    1194.3(a) Rejected --
    1194.3(b) Paraphrased 14.33.02.02.B.
    14.33.02.02.C.
    1194.3(c) Paraphrased 14.33.02.02.D.
    1194.3(d) Paraphrased 14.33.02.02.E.
    14.33.02.02.F.
    1194.3(e) Rejected --
    1194.3(f) Rejected --
    1194.4 Paraphrased 14.33.01.02.
    1194.5 Paraphrased 14.33.02.03.D.
    1194.21(a) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.21(b) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.21(c) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.21(d) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.21(e) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.21(f) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.21(g) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.21(h) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.21(i) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.21(j) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.21(k) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.21(l) Adopted 14.33.02.04.
    1194.22(a) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(b) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(c) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(d) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(e) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(f) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(g) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(h) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(i) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(j) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(k) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(l) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(m) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(n) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(o) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.22(p) Adopted 14.33.02.05.
    1194.23(a) Rejected --
    1194.23(b) Rejected --
    1194.23(c) Rejected --
    1194.23(d) Rejected --
    1194.23(e) Rejected --
    1194.23(f) Rejected --
    1194.23(g) Rejected --
    1194.23(h) Rejected --
    1194.23(i) Rejected --
    1194.23(j) First sentence: Rejected;
    Second sentence:
    Paraphrased
    --
    14.33.02.06.C.
    1194.23(k) Paraphrased 14.33.02.06.D.
    1194.23(k)(1) Paraphrased 14.33.02.06.D.(1).
    1194.23(k)(2) Rejected --
    1194.23(k)(3) Rejected --
    1194.23(k)(4) Paraphrased 14.33.02.06.D.(2).
    1194.24(a) Rejected --
    1194.24(b) Rejected --
    1194.24(c) Rejected --
    1194.24(d) Paraphrased 14.33.02.07.A.
    1194.24(e) Paraphrased 14.33.02.07.B.
    1194.25(a) Paraphrased 14.33.02.08.A.
    1194.25(b) Rejected --
    1194.25(c) Paraphrased 14.33.02.08.B.
    1194.25(d) Paraphrased 14.33.02.08.C.
    1194.25(e) Paraphrased 14.33.02.08.D.
    1194.25(f) Paraphrased 14.33.02.08.E.
    1194.25(g) Paraphrased 14.33.02.08.F.
    1194.25(h) Paraphrased 14.33.02.08.G.
    1194.25(i) Paraphrased 14.33.02.08.H.
    1194.25(j) Rejected --
    1194.25(j)(1) Rejected --
    1194.25(j)(2) Rejected --
    1194.25(j)(3) Rejected --
    1194.25(j)(4) Rejected --
    1194.26(a) Paraphrased 14.33.02.09.A.
    1194.26(b) Paraphrased 14.33.02.09.B.
    1194.26(c) Paraphrased 14.33.02.09.C.
    1194.26(d) Rejected --
    1194.31(a) Adopted 14.33.02.10.A.
    1194.31(b) Adopted 14.33.02.10.B.
    1194.31(c) Rejected --
    1194.31(d) Rejected --
    1194.31(e) Rejected --
    1194.31(f) Rejected --
    1194.41(a) Paraphrased 14.33.02.11.A.
    1194.41(b) Paraphrased 14.33.02.11.B.
    1194.41(c) Paraphrased 14.33.02.11.C.
    Figure 1 Rejected --
    Figure 2 Rejected --
    Maryland Only State Finance and Procurement Article, § 3A-311(b)(2). 14.33.02.02.A.
    Maryland Only State Finance and Procurement Article, § 3A-311(a)(3). Federal regulation implies but does not specify interconnected network services. 14.33.02.06.A.
    Maryland Only State Finance and Procurement Article, § 3A-311(a)(1), (2).

    Federal regulation implies but does not specify PDA or mobile phone systems within the telecommunications product section.
    14.33.02.06.B.
    Maryland Only State Finance and Procurement Article, § 3A-303(5) 14.33.02.12.


    1 36 CFR 1194 (Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d), as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-220) (August 7, 1998)

    COMAR 14.33.02.01
     

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  6. Maryland statute does not provide for grandfathering, i.e. it is not required to retrofit an existing information technology to the regulations that are effective March 1, 2005.

    When a system is procured or developed by a State agency after February 28, 2005, the system must be compliant with the regulations. Compliance may include the application of exceptions.

    Agency information technology personnel may want to discuss information technology procurements in process as of March 1, 2005 with the agency procurement officer. The Nonvisual Access Clause requirement has been included in the agency documentation and process for procuring information technologies since 2000.

    COMAR 21.05.08.05.B

    COMAR 14.33.02.02

    COMAR 14.33.02.03
     

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  7. State agencies will indicate compliance with these regulations (including application of exceptions) in the annual agency Information Technology Master Plan (agency ITMP) submittal beginning for budget year 2007.

    Instructions for agency compliance self-certification will be included in the instructions for the agency ITMP distributed to agencies each year.

    COMAR 14.33.02.12
     

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  8. There are several general exceptions.

    The regulations apply to the procurement of information technology and the provision of information technology services by or on behalf of agencies, unless:
    1. The essential elements of the information technology are visual and a nonvisual equivalent cannot be developed; or
    2. The cost of modifying the information technology would increase the price of the procurement by more than 5 percent.

    The regulations do not apply to information technology that is acquired and used by a contractor:
    1. Incidental to a contract with the State or any agency; and
    2. Is not transferred to the State or any agency as part of the contractor’s obligations to perform or incorporated into the deliverables provided to the State or any agency under the contract.

    The information technology products or information technology services a contractor develops, procures, maintains, or uses that are not specified as part of a contract with the State or any agency are not required to comply with the regulations.

    The regulations do not require the installation of accessibility-related software or an assistive technology device at a workstation of a State employee who is not an individual with a disability unless the action is required to comply with other law.

    The regulations do not require agencies to do the following unless the action is required to comply with other law:
    1. To provide access to the public at a location other than where the electronic and information technology is usually provided to the public; or
    2. To purchase products for access and use by individuals with disabilities at a location other than where the information technology is ordinarily provided to the public.


    COMAR 14.33.02.02
     

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  9. Guidance is found on the Department of Information Technology website by clicking the following link:
    How to Meet Regulatory Standards
     

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  10. Yes. Maryland law does not differentiate between internal- and external- use information technologies. The regulations do apply to State information technologies that are not used by the general public.

    COMAR 14.33.02.03
     

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  11. No. In Maryland law, an exception applies if the essential elements of the information technology are visual, which they are in this case. State Finance and Procurement Article, §3A-311(b)(2)(i), Annotated Code of Maryland.
     

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  12. Yes. Faxes and copiers are specifically addressed by the regulations.

    In COMAR 14.33.01.02.B.(14), fax machines and copiers are specified in the definition of self-contained, closed products.

    See COMAR 14.33.02.08 for the regulation pertaining to self-contained, closed products.
     

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  13. No. But there are some documents produced by agencies that must be nonvisually accessible.

    Agency Web based Intranet and Internet information must be nonvisually accessible and must meet the requirements of federal Section 508: 36 CFR §1194.22.

    Agencies that provide access to public documents through an existing Internet site or portal may continue to use the existing Internet site and procedures for access if the Internet site is nonvisually accessible.

    Product support documentation provided to end-users must be made available in nonvisually accessible alternate formats upon request, at no additional charge. End-users must be able to access a description of the accessibility and compatibility features of products in nonvisually accessible alternate formats or alternate methods upon request, at no additional charge. Support services for products must accommodate the communication needs of end-users with visual disabilities.

    COMAR 14.33.02.11
         

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  14. No. Agencies are responsible for identifying, evaluating, and procuring compliant IT products.
     

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