ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments
Website Accessibility Under Title II of the ADA
Adapted for Qcc from:
Qcc2 website to begin restructuring its website and content for ADA compliance.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, if the government entities receive federal funding, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 generally require that state and local governments provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, or activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of their programs, services, or activities or would impose an undue burden. One way to help meet these requirements is to ensure that government websites have accessible features for people with disabilities, using the simple steps described in this document. An agency with an inaccessible website may also meet its legal obligations by providing an alternative accessible way for citizens to use the programs or services, such as a staffed telephone information line. These alternatives, however, are unlikely to provide an equal degree of access in terms of hours of operation and the range of options and programs available.
Common Problems and Solutions in Website Accessibility
Images without descriptions
Problem: Images Without Text Equivalents
Because they only read text, screen readers and refreshable Braille displays cannot interpret photographs, charts, color-coded information, or other graphic elements on a webpage. For this reason, a photograph of a mayor on a city’s website is inaccessible to people who use these assistive technologies, and a blind person visiting the website would be unable to tell if the image is a photo, a logo, a map, a chart, artwork, a link to another page, or even a blank page.
Solution: Add a Text Equivalent to Every Image
Adding a line of simple HTML code to provide text for each image and graphic will enable a user with a vision disability to understand what it is. Add a type of HTML tag, such as an “alt” tag for brief amounts of text or a “longdesc” tag for large amounts, to each image and graphic on your agency’s website.
Documents formatted in text-based format as well PDF.
Problem: Documents Are Not Posted In an Accessible Format
State and local governments will often post documents on their websites using Portable Document Format (PDF). But PDF documents, or those in other image based formats, are often not accessible to blind people who use screen readers and people with low vision who use text enlargement programs or different color and font settings to read computer displays.
Solution: Post Documents in a Text-Based Format
Always provide documents in an alternative text-based format, such as HTML or RTF (Rich Text Format), in addition to PDF. Text-based formats are the most compatible with assistive technologies.
Problem: Specifying Colors and Font Sizes
Webpage designers often have aesthetic preferences and may want everyone to see their webpages in exactly the same color, size and layout. But because of their disability, many people with low vision do not see webpages the same as other people. Some see only small portions of a computer display at one time. Others cannot see text or images that are too small. Still others can only see website content if it appears in specific colors. For these reasons, many people with low vision use specific color and font settings when they access the Internet – settings that are often very different from those most people use. For example, many people with low vision need to use high contrast settings, such as bold white or yellow letters on a black background. Others need just the opposite – bold black text on a white or yellow background. And, many must use softer, more subtle color combinations.
Users need to be able to manipulate color and font settings in their web browsers and operating systems in order to make pages readable. Some webpages, however, are designed so that changing the color and font settings is impossible.
Solution: Avoid Dictating Colors and Font Settings
Websites should be designed so they can be viewed with the color and font sizes set in users’ web browsers and operating systems. Users with low vision must be able to specify the text and background colors as well as the font sizes needed to see webpage content.
Problem: Videos and Other Multimedia Lack Accessible Features
Due to increasing bandwidth and connection speeds, videos and other multimedia are becoming more common on the websites of state and local governments. Today, some government entities use their websites to post training videos for their employees, feature automated slide shows of recent public events, and offer video tours of local attractions.
These and other types of multimedia can present two distinct problems for people with different disabilities. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can generally see the information presented on webpages. But a deaf person or someone who is hard of hearing may not be able to hear the audio track of a video. On the other hand, persons who are blind or have low vision are frequently unable to see the video images but can hear the audio track.
Solution: Include Audio Descriptions and Captions
Videos need to incorporate features that make them accessible to everyone. Provide audio descriptions of images (including changes in setting, gestures, and other details) to make videos accessible to people who are blind or have low vision. Provide text captions synchronized with the video images to make videos and audio tracks accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Other considerations when developing websites:
Include a “skip navigation” link at the top of webpages that allows people who use screen readers to ignore navigation links and skip directly to webpage content.
- Minimize blinking, flashing, or other distracting features
- If they must be included, ensure that moving, blinking, or auto-updating objects or pages may be paused or stopped.
- Design online forms to include descriptive HTML tags that provide persons with disabilities the information they need to complete and submit the forms.
- Include visual notification and transcripts if sounds automatically play.
- Provide a second, static copy of pages that are auto-refreshing or that require a timed-response.
- Use titles, context, and other heading structures to help users navigate complex pages or elements (such as webpages that use frames).
QCC – Action Plan For Providing Accessible Website 2018
1. Create a road map document with a plan to implement the creation of an ADA compliant website for QCC.
Post ADA Action Plan document on existing Website.
Add equivalent text information on all pages and programs for fiscal 2017/2018.
Make sure that all documents and application forms for 2017/2018 are formatted in text-based formats for easy reading via text readers.
Develop plan for creating captioned video samples for 2018 performances.
2. Let visitors to your website know about the standards or guidelines that you are using to make your website accessible.
Post ADA Action Plan link in QCC newsletter and social media. This will be implemented in the January 2018.
3. Provide a way for visitors to request accessible information or services by posting a telephone number or email address on your home page.
This will be implemented in the January 2018.
4. Apply for funding for planning and creating an ADA compliant archive for QCC’s extensive, 20 year National Queer Arts Festival catalog. This will be researched in 2018/2019.