The internet is a source of entertainment, news, commerce, education and much more. However, many people with disabilities struggle to access this key resource. Web accessibility ensures that people with disabilities can use the web effectively no matter how they access the site. It asks that web developers consider alternative access methods when building sites, that forms are labeled, that text is used to describe pictures that mean something on the page, and that pages are structured in a way that make sense to someone who can't see them. Web accessibility has other benefits as well, well designed pages load more quickly, take less space on your server, and will transport more easily to mobile devices. The resources below offer some important information on web site accessibility.
The Northeast ADA Center has several archives of webinar presentations on website accessibility and informational technology. All slides, transcripts, and audio/visual presentation archives can be accessed free of charge by anyone. Access all archived webinars on this topic.
Do-It produces publications and videos focused on accessible information technology and assistive technology. There is also some information on mentoring and success in post-secondary education.
The Web Accessibility Toolkit is video and text instructions of how to make college websites accessible. The toolkit includes videos, instructions, and checklists of accessible features.
WCAG 2.0 is a stable, referenceable technical standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It has 12 guidelines that are organized under 4 principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. For each guideline, there are testable success criteria, which are at three levels: A, AA, and AAA.
Section 508 is an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act which requires all federal agencies to make their electronic information and resources accessible for individuals with a disability. The website has information about electronic accessibility laws and regulations and training. Businesses could benefit from the training which covers topics ranging from buying accessible technology to holding accessible events.
WAVE is developed and made available as a free community service by WebAIM. Originally launched in 2001, WAVE has been used to evaluate the accessibility of millions of web pages.
Update: In this document, entitled Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability: Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Governments the Department of Justice proposed revisions to both the title II and title III ADA regulations in order to provide guidance on the obligations of covered entities to make programs, services and activities offered over the Web accessible to individuals with disabilities. The Northeast ADA Center will post links to the new regulations as soon as they are available.
Access Board is a federal agency that develops guidelines to ensure that buildings, transportation, and telecommunications technology are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Access to information and communication technology (ICT) is addressed by the Access Board standards and guidelines issued under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act. Learn more from the Access Board Guidelines and Standards on Communications website.
To receive additional assistance with understanding how to make websites accessible, please contact the Northeast ADA Center Technical Assistance team!