Making Web Pages Accessible
The Internet and resources such as websites, web applications, and digital content are some of the primary vehicles by which information reaches the Cal Poly community. The central presence of the World Wide Web in delivering information and providing services is an essential reason to make its accessibility a priority for the university.
The CSU's Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) implementation approach for web accessibility and usability is driven by the following principles:
- Technology accessibility is an institution-wide responsibility that requires commitment and involvement from leadership across the enterprise.
- Each community member has a role and responsibility to enfold aspects of accessibility/usability into the business processes of everyday work tasks, e.g., providing accessible documents, websites, captioned videos etc.
- Technology access for individuals with disabilities must provide comparable functionality, affordability, and timeliness delivered in as seamless a manner as possible.
- The implementation of Universal Design principles should reduce the need for, and costs associated with, individual accommodations for inaccessible technology products.
Below are some items to keep in mind when developing or updating a new website.
Vision inadequate to see the monitor display
Users who are unable to usefully view the monitor display ordinarily use a piece of software called a screen reader, which renders in voice (or in some cases Braille or other output) the text of a web page. Screen readers linearize the contents of a web page, and they rely on there being text equivalents for every piece of non-text information (such as images) on the page.
Vision requiring magnification of the monitor display
Many users have visual impairments that require magnification of the screen contents. Most modern browsers can provide moderate text enlargement, and Internet Explorer 7 and Opera can magnify all elements of the page, including images, but for greater control of magnification, many users employ screen magnifiers, which have the added advantage of magnifying all applications, not just web browsers.
Color blindness is a group of mainly genetic syndromes that reduce the ability to perceive colors. Although there is specialized software that attempts to enhance color differences that would otherwise be almost imperceptible, most users with color-blindness are best accommodated by not using color as the sole method of distinguishing information on a web page.
Many web pages are silent, and present no barrier to people with impaired hearing, but any audio on the page, be it voice, music, animal noises, or whatever, needs alternate text content.
Because video ordinarily involves synchronized audio and video tracks, it provides challenges for both people with vision problems and people with hearing problems. Many people who can't hear the sound track rely on closed captioning, and people who can't see the action use audio description.
Every web page needs to be navigable by the keyboard. Some users with motor disabilities employ alternative keyboards, while others use standard keyboards. For keyboard users, navigation is accomplished by using shortcut keys to move through the page.