Does my website need to be accessible?
The University of Oregon has a legal obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide equal services to everyone, regardless of disability status. The university has a mission to recruit and retain a diverse staff and student body, including those with disabilities. Lastly, accessible websites aren't just more usable by people with disabilities; they are more usable by everyone.
Learn more about digital accessibility at UO
I haven't received any complaints about anyone not being able to use my website or web service. Does this still apply to me?
The University is required to be proactive in making sure their services are accessible. People who are unable to use websites or services don't always report these issues, sometimes they just leave. We don't always have a second chance to serve these individuals, so it's important to strive to make our online presence as accessible as possible at all times.
Is there some standard that my website needs to adhere to?
The University of Oregon adheres to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 at the AA level of compliance. This means it needs to meet all criteria at the A and AA levels. The University will eventually adopt the WCAG 2.1 standards which is a superset of 2.0; if your website can adopt any of the 2.1 guidelines, that is encouraged.
What about Section 508?
Discussions on accessibility frequently reference Section 508. This is part of the Rehabilitation Act that specifies that ICT needs to be accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 is a legal requirement, not a technical specification. WCAG 2.0 AA conforms to Section 508 requirements.
I found a plugin that will make my website accessible. Can I use that?
No. There is a cottage industry of services that provide accessibility overlays and allege that they will make your site compliant with WCAG and/or Section 508 standards. These products offer bold promises, but cause more problems than they solve. Automated tools are a good starting point for accessibility testing, but at best they catch around 1/3 of all accessibility issues, and any product or service that promises to both identify and resolve complex accessibility issues is being extremely generous with their self-assessment.
I have files, videos, or other media on my website. Do these need to be accessible?
Anything that is produced by the University does need to be accessible. For example, videos need to have captions. Images need to be free of text, and provide alt text that describes the content contained therein. PDFs need to be tagged so they can be understood by screen readers, similar to a webpage.
What if I can't make my ICT services accessible?
Exemptions are only granted for exceptional circumstances, such as using an inaccessible third-party service where there are no alternate, accessible third-party services that provide equivalent functionality. Acceptable cases for exemptions are listed on the ICT Accessibility Procedures page. Note that cost of fixing an accessibility issue is not a valid cause for granting an exception. If you believe your ICT services qualify for an exemption, you must provide an equally effective alternative; review the instructions for and submit a request for an equally effective alternative action plan.
I reviewed my website and I think it has accessibility issues. I don't have a strong technical background, what should I do?
That's ok! Technology is always changing, and accessibility can accordingly be something of a moving target. By noting these issues, you're helping us move in the right direction. There are self evaluation resources that might help you fix some of these issues yourself. If you attempt to resolve these issues and are unable, or you're not sure if you're doing it correctly, please schedule an accessibility consultation to get an expert review.