RMIT Training puts emphasis on ensuring all its websites are accessible to the broadest audience possible, including users with disabilities.
1.0 What are Accessible Web Pages?
Web pages are accessible if they can be "navigated and read by everyone, regardless of location, experience, or the type of computer technology used" 1 .
2.0 Australian Legislation
The Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission 1 explains that information or services provided through the Worldwide Web fall under the jurisdiction of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA):
"Equal access for people with a disability in this area [Worldwide Web] is required by the DDA where it can reasonably be provided. This requirement applies to any individual or organisation developing a Worldwide Web page in Australia, or placing or maintaining a Web page on an Australian Server."
3.0 Developing for accessible content
The W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines outlines checkpoints for web development in three priorities. Each priority level is based on the checkpoint's impact on accessibility:
3.1 Priority 1
RMIT Training websites must satisfy these checkpoints. Satisfying Priority 1 of the guidelines is a minimum criterion for some groups of users to be able to access information successfully.
3.2 Priority 2
RMIT Training websites should satisfy this checkpoint. Satisfying Priority 2 of the guidelines will remove significant barriers to accessing web documents.
3.3 Priority 3
RMIT Training websites may address this checkpoint. Satisfying Priority 3 of the guidelines will improve the usability of the website for some groups of users.
4.0 Testing for Accessibility
Following steps can support the testing of a website for its accessibility:
- Automated tests such as "Bobby Watchfire" or "Cynthia Says" may help to highlight key accessibility issues, yet they should be approached with caution: many of the W3C checkpoints cannot be validated in an automated test but require individual analysis with consideration of the specific circumstances.
- Screenreaders such as JAWS (free demo available) or Windows' built-in Narrator can provide the developer with an understanding of accessibility issues for visually disabled users. Website content may be technically accessible, yet taken out of context may provide little information to the user. Due to different navigation patterns of screenreaders and their users, content of a website might be delivered in a different order than expected.