Online accessibility can be difficult for some members of the disabled community; organizations like Visiotech are becoming vital to web based companies and employers by ensuring that they are ADA compliant.
“The civil right protections provided by the ADA offers comprehensive protections for individuals with disabilities.
An “individual with a disability” is a person who:
Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or
Has a record of such an impairment, or
Is regarded as having such impairment. According to Title III of the ADA, some examples of physical or mental impairments include, but are not limited to, contagious and non-contagious diseases and conditions, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, specific learning disabilities, HIV, tuberculosis, drug addiction, and alcoholism. Furthermore, the ADA defines a “major life activity” to include such functions as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.” (“Americans With Disabilities Act: Title III Highlights”)
“Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disabilities in places of public accommodations, commercial facilities, and private entities that offer certain examination and courses related to educational and occupational certification.
In order to comply with Title III of the ADA, commercial facilities are only subject to the requirement that new constructions and alterations conform to the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Similarly, private entities offering examination or courses only have to offer an accessible place and manner or alternative accessible arrangements for individuals with disabilities. However, public accommodations have much deeper requirements in order to fully abide by this act.
The ADA defines public accommodations as private entities that own, operate, or lease places of public accommodation. Examples of public accommodations include stores and shops, restaurants and bars, service establishments, theaters, hotels, recreation facilities, private museums and schools” (and surely soon to come web based business and platforms.). In order to comply with the ADA accessibility guidelines, public accommodations must:
Provide goods and services in an integrated setting, unless separate or different measures are necessary to ensure equal opportunity.
Eliminate unnecessary eligibility standards or rules that deny individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy the goods and services of a place of public accommodation.
Make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures that deny equal access to individuals with disabilities, unless a fundamental alteration would result in the nature of the goods and services provided.
Furnish auxiliary aids when necessary to ensure effective communication, unless an undue burden or fundamental alteration would result.
Remove architectural and structural communication barriers in existing facilities where readily achievable.
Provide readily achievable alternative measures when removal of barriers is not readily achievable.
Provide equivalent transportation services and purchase accessible vehicles in certain circumstances.
Maintain accessible features of facilities and equipment.
Design and construct new facilities and, when undertaking alterations, alter existing facilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines.” (“Americans With Disabilities Act: Title III Highlights”)“The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is an internationally recognized standard created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
The purpose of the WCAG standard is to define how to “… make Web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Accessibility involves a wide range of disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological disabilities. Although these guidelines cover a wide range of issues, they are not able to address the needs of people with all types, degrees, and combinations of disability. These guidelines also make Web content more usable by older individuals with changing abilities due to aging and often improve usability for users in general.” (“What is WCAG?
Sitting underneath the four POUR principles are a series of guidelines:
1.1 Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, Braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
1.2 Provide alternatives for time-based media.
1.3 Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example, simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
1.4 Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.
2.1 Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
2.2 Provide users enough time to read and use content.
2.3 Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
3.4 Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
3.1 Make text content readable and understandable.
3.2 Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
3.3 Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
4.1 Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.
To achieve WCAG compliance, W3C have broken up the success criteria into three different implementation levels. These levels are known as Level A, AA and AAA respectively.
In the original WCAG standard, W3C described the differences between the levels like this:
Priority 1: A Web content developer must satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it impossible to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint is a basic requirement for some groups to be able to use Web documents.
Priority 2: A Web content developer should satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will remove significant barriers to accessing Web documents.
Priority 3: A Web content developer may address this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will improve access to Web documents.If the first point was achieved this would meet Level A. If both the first and second points were achieved it would meet Level AA, and if all three were achieved it would meet Level AAA.” (“What is the WCAG Standard?”)
(“Americans With Disabilities Act: Title III Highlights”. https://www.accessibility.org.au/resources/what-is-the-wcag- standard/. Accessed 26, March 2019. “What is the WCAG Standard?” https://corporate.findlaw.com/litigation-disputes/americans-with-disabilities-act- title-iii-highlights.html. Accessed 26, March 2019.