Though estimates vary, most studies find that about one fifth (20%) of the population has some kind of disability. Not all of these people have disabilities that make it difficult for them to access the internet, but it is still a significant portion of the population. Businesses would be unwise to purposely exclude 20, 10, or even 5 percent of their potential customers from their web sites. For schools, universities, and government entities it would not only be unwise, but in many cases, it would also violate the law.
In April of 2014 the CCCS System President enacted SP 3-125g or the Web Accessibility Procedure. It requires that all CCCS Colleges, and the System itself, create and begin implementing a plan for conformance to the Web Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) - Level AA. This plan must be in place no later than December 31, 2014.
While certain details of this plan are still being developed, work is already underway for reaching conformance with web accessibility standards. In a multi-departmental and cross-discipline effort, major stakeholders from across our college are working towards conformance in our websites, web applications and other web-based platforms.
As website content editor and an employee of Pikes Peak Community College, you play an important role in ensuring that all of our website content meets the WCAG 2.0 AA standard. It is critical that you understand at least the fundamentals of accessibility minded, web content authoring. This page is here as your guide to understanding these fundamentals and how to apply them to your own content editing workflow.
Resources and Documentation
- Official CCCS System President's Procedure (SP 3-125g)
- PPCC Web Accessibility Plan (Coming soon)
Handouts & Cheatsheets
- Web Accessibility Principles (In PDF format)
- Web Accessibility for Designers (Infographic)
- WCAG 2.0 Checklist
- Creating Accessible Documents (NCDAE)
Accessibility Testing Tools
Firefox Flash Embedding Keyboard Trap
Since the release of version 4, in March 2011, Mozilla Firefox has a known bug that seriously impacts keyboard users navigating a web page. Embedding flash media with iframes, such as YouTube, cause keyboard navigation to retain focus within the flash element. This is known as a keyboard trap.
Success criterion 2.1.2 for WCAG 2.0 guidelines states:
If keyboard focus can be moved to a component of the page using a keyboard interface, then focus can be moved away from that component using only a keyboard interface...
There is no known way to navigate out of a flash embedded iframe via keyboard normally, except:
- Mouse clicking anywhere on the page outside of the element.
- Alt + Tab to return focus to window.
- Switching to a different tab or window in the browser, then back again. It is possible this can be done with a keyboard.
- Navigating backward (Shift + Tab in most browsers) by keyboard.
Disabling the Shockwave Flash plugin and using HTML5 embedding will allow keyboard tabbed navigation to function normally.
Q. How can I check if I'm using the HTML5 player on YouTube?
A. Right click on Settings (the icon resembling a gear). "About the HTML5 player" should appear at the bottom of the options list.
JAWS and Internet Explorer Long-Description Issue
Complex images require alternative descriptions (i.e. alt tags) for screen readers to relay content to the user. Due to a limitation with JAWS and alt text requiring more than 125 characters, it is suggested to use long descriptions instead. Internet Explorer users using JAWS require an absolute longdesc URL if the description is used as a separate resource. (See example values following the success criterion guideline for reference.) Description files using a relative path URL will return a 404 or "page not found" error.
Success criterion 1.1.1 for WCAG 2.0 guidelines states:
Non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose...
Possible values apply for adding long descriptions contained on a separate resource only:
- Absolute URL points to the full path of the description resource file.
- Relative URL points to a relative path of the description resource file.
Additional Resources for Images and Accessibility
- H45: Using longdesc - Source: W3C, Techniques for WCAG 2.0
- Image ALT Tag Tips for HTML - Source: Penn State, Accessibility and Usability
Note: After years of exhaustive debate to retain the longdesc attribute in HTML5, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) decided to include it as a recommended candidate for HTML5 standardization. For updated information about this topic, please refer to W3C's HTML5 Image Description Extension (longdesc) main page.
Visit http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/w3c-process to learn more about web accessibility guidelines development.