Web Accessibility deadline approaches

One in seven people in Ontario have a disability. Over the next 20 years, that number will rise as the population ages. The University of Waterloo is committed to ensuring that all people, regardless of ability, are able to use our websites. Further, the Government of Ontario has made accessibility a priority, aiming for a completely accessible Ontario. Regulations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) require that public websites owned by certain organizations, including the University of Waterloo, be accessible by January 1, 2014.

The web is a very flexible medium which allows information to be presented in a wide variety of ways. Some of those ways are accessible to people with disabilities and some are not. Web accessibility is about presenting information in a way that can be used by everyone.

There are many different kinds of disabilities that people may have and each has different implications for how people use the web. A few examples include:

  • A person with a motor impairment may be unable to use a mouse and has to use the web with only a keyboard or they may use voice control.
  • A person with a visual impairment may use a screen reader to navigate and listen to web pages.
  • A person with a hearing impairment needs captions or a transcript of the sound that accompanies a video.

Each of the above can be addressed by applying web accessibility techniques described in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Everyone who works on websites has a role to play in web accessibility. If you edit or create content on a website, you need to ensure that the content you are producing is accessible. If you maintain the navigation or design templates for the site, you need to ensure that it is accessible and consistent across your site. If you create any interactive sites, forms, or web applications, you need to apply special techniques to ensure these are fully useable by persons with disabilities.

For sites in the WCMS, much of the accessibility work has already been done by the WCMS team. The overall design template and web forms are the responsibility of the WCMS team. As a content maintainer, you still need to ensure that the content you put into the WCMS is accessible.

The University of Waterloo provides several Skills for the Electronic Workplace (SEW) courses on accessibility, including a new course on accessible HTML tables, and a web accessibility resources page.

January 1, 2014 is coming fast. We need to get to work to ensure that our sites are accessible.

Please contact Liam Morland with any questions regarding web accessibility.

Thanks to our guest bloggers Liam Morland and Heather Wey

  1. 2020 (4)
  2. 2019 (4)
    1. November (2)
    2. August (1)
    3. July (1)
  3. 2018 (6)
    1. October (2)
    2. July (2)
    3. April (1)
    4. January (1)
  4. 2017 (2)
    1. November (1)
    2. October (1)
  5. 2016 (4)
    1. September (1)
    2. July (3)
  6. 2015 (13)
    1. October (1)
    2. August (1)
    3. July (1)
    4. June (1)
    5. May (2)
    6. April (2)
    7. March (2)
    8. February (3)
  7. 2014 (10)
    1. December (2)
    2. May (2)
    3. April (1)
    4. March (2)
    5. February (2)
    6. January (1)
  8. 2013 (23)
    1. December (1)
    2. November (2)
    3. October (3)
    4. September (2)
    5. August (2)
    6. July (5)
    7. June (4)
    8. May (4)