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.”

All new website templates and new content must be compliant for the following dates:

  • January 1, 2014 for  WCAG 2.0 Level A
  • January 1, 2021 for WCAG 2.0 Level AA

You are not required to change old material until 2021l, however, if someone requests an accessible format of a section on your site, you must be able to provide it to them.

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.

From a content perspective

Website content managers must ensure that any new website content is Level A compliant by January 2014 and all their website content must be Level AA compliant by January 2021.

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.

Not on the CCMS?  Need help making your website accessible?

At Carleton over 300 departmental and administrative websites  are on the CCMS template.  Acceessibility standards apply to websites both on and off the Carleton template.   All websites that fall under the domain need to meet these accessibility standards.  Web Services is here to help.

If you manage a website not on the CCMS, please fill out this form to get started.

Learn more about Accessibility at Carleton

Carleton University is committed to achieving barrier free accessibility for persons with disabilities studying, visiting and working at Carleton.

The goal of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is to develop a fully accessible Ontario by the year 2025. In order to reach this goal, five standards are being developed in the areas of Customer Service, Employment, Information and Communication, Built Environment and Transportation.

Learn more at the Carleton Accessibility website.