Web Accessibility at WWU
As a public institution we are required to provide equal access to programs and services for our entire community. Admitted and prospective students, employees, applicants, and countless other visitors access Western Washington University's web site using a wide variety of technologies. Our visitors are diverse in their choice of web browsers, screen resolutions, and preferred font size; a growing number of visitors are using handheld computers; and many of our visitors have disabilities. Some are blind and are using a text-to-speech screen reading application. Some are deaf and require captions on multimedia content. Some have mobility impairments that prevent their using a mouse, and are therefore navigating by keyboard, speech recognition, or any of a variety of other technologies. In order to assure that Western's web content is accessible to all members of our diverse audience, it must be developed in accordance with guidelines and standards for web accessibility. There are two principle sets of applicable guidelines and standards:
- World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
"The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) documents explain how to make Web content accessible to people with disabilities. Web "content" generally refers to the information in a Web page or Web application, including text, images, forms, sounds, and such. WCAG is part of a series of accessibility guidelines, including the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) and the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG)." for more from W3C on this topic
- Section 508 Web Accessibility Standards
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998, is a federal law that requires accessibility of federal electronic and information technology resources, including web sites. Its accompanying Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards was published in the Federal Register in December 2001, and provides the only legal definition of technology accessibility. It includes standards for a variety of technologies, including software applications and operating systems, video and multimedia products, and Web-based intranet and internet information and applications. The Access Board (the federal agency who developed the standards) has published a Guide to the Section 508 Standards which provides excellent examples of each of the standards, including source code.