Website accessibility falls within the information and communications standard of AODA. Section 14 states:

“Designated public sector organizations and large organizations shall make their internet websites and web content conform with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, initially at Level A and increasing to Level AA.”

  • January 1, 2014 for Level A
  • January 1, 2021 for Level AA

What is an accessible website?

In short, an accessible website is inclusive to all users, regardless of  web browsing experience or any physical disabilities they may have.

The WCAG explain how to make web content accessible to people with disabilities. There are four guiding principles:

  1. Perceivable – Information and user interface must be presented to users in ways they can perceive.
  2. Operable – Users must be able to use the interface. It cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform.
  3. Understandable – Users must be able to understand the information as well as how to use the interface.
  4. Robust – Users must be able to access the content as technologies advance. In other words, as technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible.

(Sourced from Introduction to Understanding WCAG 2.0)

From a template perspective

The CCMS website template is now fully compliant with both Level A and Level AA.  The key components of having an accessible website include:

  • Presentation: does not rely on a single sensory characteristic (ie: no flash).
  • Text: content is organized using <p> tags and a <title> tag that describes the topic/purpose.
  • Colours: colours are easily distinguished as is contrast ratio.
  • Zooming: quality is not lost when resized to 200%.
  • Keystroke functionality: the users needs to be able to easily navigate the site using keyboard strokes
  • Navigation menus and Functional components: repeating functions (ie: navigation, search) that are on multiple pages appear in the same order.

We check using this code sniffer from squizlabs.

From a content perspective

Any new content created must meet standards. If someone requests an accessible format of a section on your site, you must be able to provide it to them.   The key components of having accessible website content include:

  • Non text: All non-text content has a text alternative.
  • Lists:  Lists, groups of links, or other listable items are listed using <ol>, <ul>, or <dl>.
  • Paste from plain text:  Web content can be perceived easily when reading top to bottom in the source code.
  • Images:  Text is used to convey information rather than images of text if it’s possible at all.
  • Links: All links describe its purpose accurately by itself or within the context of the links.
  • Headings: Headings are used properly in a hierchical fashion, and describe the topic accurate.
  • Plain language: Paragraphs and sentences are short and written in plain, concise language.

This information is covered in our Writing for the Web workshops.

Learn more about accessibility at Carleton.

3 thoughts on “AODA: Web Accessibility Requirements”

  1. New rule: “All material on a University website must be written using good grammar and matching singular and plural nouns and verbs”

  2. lili ren says:

    I am interested to learn AODA

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