In 2014, Ontario required that new public websites and web content must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level A.
WCAG 2.0 is organized around four (4) concepts: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. There are 12 guidelines organized by concept. Each guideline has a series of success criteria that can be used to evaluate a website’s ability to meet that guideline to one of three (3) “Levels of Conformance.”
Perceivable: Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. This means that users must be able to perceive the information being presented (it can’t be invisible to all of their senses).
Operable: User interface components and navigation must be operable. This means that users must be able to operate the interface (the interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform).
Understandable: Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable. This means that users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface (the content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding).
Robust: Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. This means that users must be able to access the content as technologies advance (as technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible).
A large part of meeting accessibility guidelines falls on the school for managing layout, design and content choices on their sites. Browser extensions for accessibility are also available to help visitors to a school site navigate. For example, Chrome provides a High Contrast setting to adjust site colors, and a zoom feature on View to make the entire page (including fonts) bigger. Our content management system, onMessage, has been reviewed and enhanced to make sure our product supports a school’s efforts to enter content and design pages so that they can be understood by as many site visitors as possible.
In Nov 2014, we made the following changes in onMessage:
Perceivable and Robust
- Reviewed our html structure to be sure it is well-formed and will work with assistive technology.
- Made sure our page title of the current page is an H1, and any visible parent page titles are handled within the structure guidelines.
- Made sure our content types that rely on <h2> and <h4> also have a valid <h3> with a descriptive label.
- Even if not styled to be visible, a descriptive label is provided for all widgets within the HTML on a page.
- For multimedia content, the user has a place to enter a text alternative using caption or title to be provided in the ALT tag for the media.
- The onMessage development team works closely with our Professional Services team to develop a list of Best Practices for accessibility to inform schools of choices during the design phase.
Still in review
- Corrections to our tags for menus for compatibility with standards.
- Menu navigation to be sure a website can be navigated via a keyboard only.
- Basic navigation tags for ARIA to provide short-cuts when using assistive technology.