Provisions in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) charge AJCs with ensuring their information and communications technology (ICT) is accessible to individuals with disabilities. With that in mind, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) offers the following quick-reference accessibility checklist, which is adapted with permission from Vision Internet.
Ready Your Team
Accessibility coordinator. Name or hire an accessibility coordinator for your AJC who understands regulations like the Americans with Disabilities Act, website accessibility issues, and standards and guidelines like Section 508 and WCAG 2.0.
Make a plan for your AJC. Develop and implement a strategic action plan for ICT accessibility that includes the following sections:
- Leadership and Team Approach
- Needs Assessment and Priorities
- Formal Policies and Procedures
- Agency-Wide Infrastructure
- Evaluation and Accountability
Accessibility awareness training. Conduct web accessibility awareness training for department heads and key personnel.
Accessibility content and procurement training. Train your AJC’s web personnel on how to write and develop accessible content, and educate IT decision makers on how to ensure they buy and implement technology that is accessible.
Make It Accessible
Web Layouts. Use responsive design to ensure that your pages automatically resize for mobile and tablet devices.
Images. Add “alternative text” to images where appropriate. This will be used by screen readers to describe images to people with visual impairments.
Content. Write text that is easy to understand, and use short simple sentences to aid readability.
Headings. Use headings to provide a way for users to navigate a page quickly and to understand the structure of a page.
Contrast. Create links that stand out from surrounding text, and let users know if a link will go to another page or open a document.
Color. Test text and background color combinations for users with color blindness. Note that WCAG 2.0 Level AA requires a 4:5:1 color ratio.
Multimedia. Provide captions and transcripts for audio/visual content for users with hearing impairments.
Give Users Control Over Accessibility
Keyboard access. All interactions and information that can be accessed with a mouse must be accessible with just a keyboard. The tab order of the page should also be logical.
Focus. Always let users know where they are and how to get somewhere else on your site. The focus should always be visible.
Multimedia. Give users control over media content and make sure that video and audio files do not auto-play.
Customization. Allow users to customize their page experience. Give users a way to increase text size, and note that many browsers have this capability built in already.
Time outs. If time outs are used, allow users to extend their sessions if they wish.
CAPTCHA alternatives. Use alternatives to CAPTCHA. Spam protection may shut out some users, so you should use logic-based problems or simple human user confirmations.
Keep Your Website Accessible
Automated accessibility checker. Use an automated accessibility checker on your website to regularly check and identify major barriers to accessibility—and correct any issues as they arise.
Accessibility statement. Provide a website accessibility statement on your site to acknowledge your commitment to accessibility, outline key standards, and identify contact information for reporting issues or providing feedback.