The SFA Electronic Accessibility Policy mandates that all Web pages intended for the public meet and exceed accessibility and usability standards that have been set forth by both the state and federal government. To that end, the Stephen F. Austin State University Web Accessibility Project provides resources, guidelines and information to help campus Webmasters, developers, and designers with issues of best practices and compliance.
If you have any web accessibility questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although accessibility initiatives focus on people with disabilities, other user groups also benefit from these additional considerations. Accessible Web sites also benefit from improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The different aspects of the business case for Web accessibility are presented in detail in the following pages:
- Social Factors addresses the role of Web accessibility in providing equal opportunity for people with disabilities; the overlap with digital divide issues; and benefits to people without disabilities, including older people, people with low literacy and people not fluent in the language, people with low bandwidth connections to the Internet, people using older technologies, and new and infrequent web users.
- Technical Factors addresses interoperability, quality, reducing site development and maintenance time, reducing server load, enabling content on different configurations, and being prepared for advanced web technologies.
- Financial Factors addresses the financial benefits of increased website use, for example, from engine optimization (SEO); direct cost savings; considerations for initial costs and on-going costs; and ways to decrease costs.
- Legal and Policy Factors addresses requirements for Web accessibility from governments and other organizations in the form of laws, policies, regulations, standards, guidelines, directives, communications, orders, or other types of documents.
There are several audiences that require their own accessibility accommodations, depending on their particular needs. Fortunately, many of the techniques that provide accessibility benefit more users than just the intended audience.
Severe Visual Impairment
These users may rely on screen readers that read aloud the Web site content. Some visual cues like images and tables may be difficult for them to use without additional information in the HTML document.
The primary accommodations for this audience:
- Proper ALT attributes
- Web forms should clearly identify fields
- Table headers should be used correctly
Low vision users may have enough vision to use a standard, visual web browser but may need to enlarge text or adjust contrast in font and color settings. Therefore, it's important that a Web page does not disable zooming or the ability to adjust color and font settings.
Depending on their individual needs, low vision users may require one or any combination of the following:
- Dark text on a light background
- Light text on a dark background
- Serif fonts
- Sans-serif fonts
- Large sized fonts
Color blind users may not be able to distinguish certain colors, especially red vs. green. It is important that color-coded information be conveyed with other visual cues. Screen readers cannot translate color differences audibly so alternatives must be included for severe visual impairment users.
These users can see all of the visual information provided in a Web page but may not be able to clearly hear any audio content. This audio information should be provided by captions or transcripts.
These accommodations are necessary because:
- Volume controls may be difficult to find or unavailable
- If speakers are not available or if the audio quality is poor, all users may need captions
Web site users with limited mobility may rely more heavily on their keyboard, specialized trackballs, joysticks or other input devices. The use of floating, pop-out menus can be difficult for these users. Whenever possible, Web site navigation tools should be available through text links or keyboard shortcuts.