Is Your Website Up to “Code”?
The AODA is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and was introduced in 2005. Businesses and organizations in Ontario have been required to change certain practices at their physical locations to assist people with disabilities. Soon, websites and web content must also be accessible to those with disabilities.
Beginning January 1, 2014 some websites and their content must meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, as outlined in the Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications or they will be subject to substantial fines.
What is The Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications?
The Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications is a guide to help Ontario businesses and organizations make their information accessible for people with disabilities.
What is WCAG?
WCAG 2.0 is an internationally accepted standard for web accessibility developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). WCAG 2.0 sets guidelines for organizations to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities. The guidelines include things like writing web content in clear language, providing alternate text for images and providing options for text appearance.
Who does it affect?
All public sector organizations and private and non-profit organizations with 50 or more employees.
What changes need to be made?
To meet WCAG 2.0, Level A, an organization’s web presence must:
- provide captions and text alternatives for images and multimedia
- use strong contrast between text and background, and make text resizing available
- create content that can be presented using assistive technologies (such as screen readers) without losing meaning
- use structured content and make it keyboard accessible
- avoid CAPTCHAs (user challenges involving distorted letterforms) and give users enough time to read and use content
- avoid time limits when asking users to provide a response or information
- avoid blinking images
- avoid the use of colour indicators
- help users find and navigate content by making links specific (not ‘click here’)
- help users avoid and correct mistakes by making error messages specific
An AODA Compliance Wizard has been set up to help you figure out what you need to do for your website to be accessible.
Check it out here: https://www.appacats.mcss.gov.on.ca/eadvisor/newIndex.action#next
Here is an official brochure to help you figure out how to comply with the guidelines: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/accessibility/iasr_info/website.pdf
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