Web Accessibility Basic Principles
The links listed below will take you to the W3C's Web Accessibility Content Guidelines (WCAG), the primary resource for web accessibility issues and other information.
The most important points to remember in creating or making your web pages "Priority 2AA Accessible" are:
- Perceivable - make sure content is accessible to a range of users (i.e. low vision, blind, limited mobility, etc.)
- Operable - make sure website is fully functional from keyboard and provide users with navigation assistance
- Understandable - make sure pages are easy to understand both with content and user interface
- Robust - make sure website is compatible with current and future assistive technology
Web Accessibility Validators/Checkers (No-Cost)
AChecker - AChecker is an open source Web accessibility evaluation tool. It can be used to review the accessibility of Web pages based on a variety international accessibility guidelines. Use the Public AChecker to evaluate the accessibility of a Web site you know. Download AChecker to setup your own version.
Functional Accessibility Validator (FAE) - The Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE)analyzes web pages for markup that is consistent with the use of iCITA HTML Best Practicesfor the development of functionally accessible web resources that also support interoperability.
HiSoftware - The HiSoftware Cynthia Says portal is a web content accessibility validation solution. It is designed to identify errors in your content related to Section 508 standards and/or the WCAG guidelines. This free tool meant for educational purposes, is an online test which only validates one page at a time.
Ocawa Web Accessibility Expert - Ocawa audit results are comprehensive and allow you to see very clearly all accessibility sensitive points in your page, in context (aka source html). Will only validate based upon WCAG 1.0 standards.
Total Validator - Total Validator is an (X)HTML validator, an accessibility validator, a spell checker, and a broken links checker all rolled into one tool allowing one-click validation of your web pages
WAVE - WAVE is a free, web-based tool to help web developers make their web content more accessible. WAVE allows anyone to quickly and effectively evaluate the accessibility of their web content.
Why Universal Design and Web Accessibility?
Web page access has gained national attention with implementation of the Federal Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in June of 2001 that requires, in part, that all federal agencies immediately make web pages accessible for anyone accessing agency web sites. The regulation applies only to federal agencies, not directly to public or private universities, although many campuses around the country have moved quickly to use Section 508 as one guideline. There is general consensus that federal agencies such as the US Dept of Education and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will use Section 508 as a guideline when investigating complaints of disability discrimination. OCR, particularly in several California cases of community colleges and California State University (CSU), has been very active in investigating electronic/Internet/computing access issues. For higher education, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are the two key federal legislative and civil rights law requiring electronic access under the sections that address "timely and effective communication" and access to all "activities and programs." "Effective communication" has been clearly interpreted to apply to all print and electronic communication. Presently the guidelines that are used most widely by campuses around the country are the Web Access Initiative Guidelines. If you click on this site and go to "Frequently Asked Questions" you will find a good summary of information.
The Importance of Web Accessibility
UCI students and employees with disabilities may need web accessibility features. Additionally, many individuals (prospective and new students, parents, outside organizations/agencies, and individuals from anywhere in the US and abroad may use UCI web pages) will have disabilities. Web page access needs to be provided to all individuals, whether or not they are UCI students or employees.
Universal Design for the Web
The intent and scope of universal design is to make the World Wide Web (WWW) accessible for a wide range of people with disabilities. By following the guidelines listed below your website will be robust, standard and accessible to the widest range of users. When developing your website(s) keep in mind that your audience is diverse. Not all users of the WWW use standard graphical browsers. They may be using adaptive technologies such as screen readers or text-based browsers. Some users may have their graphics turned off or may not be able to use to an input device (mouse, keyboard, etc.). Other users may even have physical or cognitive disabilities that impact their viewing of web pages.