2. Part A: - Identify Accessibility Standards
In this section we will :
Identify any legislative or industry standards that may influence accessibility in a web
List some specific user groups and describe some of their accessibility requirements
Show example checklists, which could be used with web-related work
Further discuss accessibility standards
3. Legislative and Industry Standards
We have a moral obligation to make our websites accessible to as many people with
disabilities as we can. We also have a legal obligation. Disabilities include visual, auditory,
physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological.
In a moral sense, we already provide disabled access to the disabled in numerous capacities,
like stairs, toilets, public buildings, so we should aim to provide them with appropriate
access to websites.
Legally, there are a number of legislative and industry standards that we should aim to
follow to make the same commitment of access to websites for the disabled. They are
becoming more prominent with further advances in technology. For example :
In December 2010, the BSI launched the first British standard to address web accessibility
and the challenge of digital inclusion. The standard includes recommendations for :
• involving disabled people in the development process and using automated tools to
assist with accessibility testing, and
• The management of the guidance and process for upholding existing accessibility
guidelines and specifications.
4. The Australian Government has endorsed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
(WCAG) version 2.0 for all government websites, and the principles of these are :
Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 agencies must ensure that people with disabilities
have the same fundamental rights to access information and services as others in the community.
In 2008, the Australian Government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities (UNCRPD), which specifically recognises that access to information, communications and
services, including the internet, is a human right.
5. Disabilities and their accessibility requirements
Colour Blindness / Blindness
To overcome difficulties if a user has colour blindness, one solution may be to design in black and
white, and only use colour for emphasis. If you use a style sheet to control the colour of text, this
allows a user to substitute his or her own specially tailored style sheet instead of yours.
People that have complete blindness often use a screen reader, which is a device that plugs into
their computer and will speak the words that are on the screen, and there are also screen readers
that output the screen text into Braille.
One major technique used to cater for blindness is to use the ALT=”” attribute for images and
media, so that the text within the ALT attribute can be read to the user that cannot see the image.
The optimal solution when there is no text to assign to the ALT attribute would be to leave it
blank, and therefore the screen reader will skip past this image.
Tables are also difficult for blind people/screen readers to negotiate. By using the “TABLE
SUMMARY=” attribute, you can specify the definition, or summarise what the table contains.
6. Deafness :
Particularly prevalent in a learning environment, where audio/visual methods are used to supplement
teaching. One way around a hearing-impaired audience would be to use captions, that appear on the
screen while the audio is playing.
Another option is to use (Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange), where the the media player is
embedded in the web page while the captions are shown in a separate window.
Another way to produce captions is to use SMIL (pronounced "smile") which stands
for Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language. SMIL is a tag-based language, similar to HTML. It is
actually based on XML , and it allows you to synchronise a movie track, playing through a multimedia
player (Quicktime or Windows Media Playe or Real Media Playe) with a set of captions that appear in
a separate window on the web page
7. Dyslexia :
Animated graphics can prove a particular problem to those with Dyslexia as they distract
the user and reduce concentration on the important aspects of the site, particularly text.
To assist such people, you should either avoid the use of animated graphics, or if you can't
do that, allow users to turn off animation via your browser settings.
Cognitive Disabilities :
People that suffer from cognitive disabilities ( mental retardation ) may have difficulty
understanding or comprehending text on a website. This is particularly evident when a
website uses abstract concepts, a complex design, and lots of illustration and images.
Consistent and plain navigation, simple page design and instructions on how to use the
website will enable them to understand the website easier.
8. Example Checklists
Auditory / Visual Impairment Checklist
Provide alternatives to auditory and visual
content, by :
Provide a text equivalent for every non-text
Provide an auditory equivalent to any
important visual concept of the website for
visually impaired users
Provide a visual equivalent to any auditory
aspect of the website for hearing impaired
For any time-based multi-media presentation,
synchronize alternatives ( i.e. captions,
auditory descriptions of the visual track ) with
Ensure all information conveyed in colour is
also available without colour
Mental / Cognitive disability Checklist
Provide clear navigation mechanisms, by
Describe the purpose of frames, and how
frames relate to each other if it is not obvious
from frame titles alone
Clearly identify the target of each link
Provide metadata to add semantic information
for each page or link
Use navigation systems in a clear and concise
Place distinguishing information at the
beginning of each heading, paragraph, list
Provide site layout information by means of a
site map or table of contents
9. Further discuss an Accessibility Standard
The World Wide Web Consortium (commonly known as the W3C) is
the primary international standards organisation for the Internet.
A key part of the W3C's work is to ensure that all people are able to
access online information. The Web Accessibility Initiative
(WAI) is a community within the W3C that produces standards for
accessible online content. These standards are generally accepted to
be the international benchmark for web accessibility.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are one of the
standards published by WAI which explain how to make Web content
accessible to people with disabilities.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 is based
around four design principles that state that, in order for a website to
be accessible, it must have content that is:
Perceivable : Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
This means that users must be able to perceive the information being presented (it cannot be invisible to all of their
Operable : User interface components and navigation must be operable.
Understandable : Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.
Robust : Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents,
including assistive technologies.
has the following principles to follow :
Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
Provide users enough time to read and use content.
Do not design content in a way that is known to cause
Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and
determine where they are.