web Accessibility

Compliance Process Guide

Introduction

All new or redesigned Cal Poly web sites must meet Section 508 guidelines and also best practices for web design (i.e., XHTML and CSS or web technologies that support the separation of the content from the formatting and are accessible to people using assistive technology software).

Important information

As of Sept 1, 2007, before new or redesigned web sites can be published or linked within the Cal Poly web environment, developers must complete and submit for approval the Section 508 Manual web site Evaluation Worksheet or HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff CSU ATI accessibility automated report.

Creating accessible web content requires much more than passing a set of tests. It requires an understanding of what the issues are that people with disabilities face when using a computer to access the web . If a company or developer intends to develop a web site for Cal Poly, then they must become educated on the issues and use design techniques that facilitate easy access to content.

The below information is intended to help developers get started with this process and to understand Cal Poly's requirements for web sites.

If outsourcing a web site, vendors should begin with the "Outsourcing a web Project" page on this web site.

Prior to building, redesigning, or enhancing a campus web site, become familiar with the Section 508 Checkpoints for web accessibility described at the CSU web site and web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)2.0.

In addition, prior to developing applications or new technologies, refer to the expanded Guide to Section 508 Technical Standards - Subpart B described at the CSU web site.

An excellent primer on web Accessibility is available through web AIM.

New and redesigned Cal Poly web sites must comply with minimum best practices for XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS 2.0. Validators for these technologies can be found at:

Campus web sites must comply with the Style Requirements outlined on the web Authoring Resource Center (this web site).

Electronic Documents and Multimedia

All electronic documents (MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, etc.) and Multimedia files (video, Flash, etc. ) added to web sites must also be created in an accessible format.

Note that simply converting a document to PDF does not make it accessible. Information on creating accessible electronic documents (PDFs and accessible Microsoft Office documents) is available on Cal Poly's Accessibility web site (see the Electronic Documents sub-heading).

Tools

Several tools should be used for checking the accessibility of a web site. These should be used in parallel.

Automated Accessibility Review

Cal Poly uses an automated tool called HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff to perform accessibility reviews on web sites using the CSU's ATI accessibility checkpoint requirements. For informaiton on using Compliance Sheriff, contact us via email at accessibility@calpoly.edu or contact the web accessibility coordinator for your department.

Manual Checks

A thorough manual (visual) evaluation must be performed on the web site since automated tools can not determine the full extend of the accessibility of a site. A tool/process for performing the manual evaluation has been established by the CSU:

Reference

Lastly a particularly helpful reference book on web accessibility is:
web Accessibility by Jim Thatcher (ISBN 1-59059-638-2)