SOCS Support staff is in the process of evaluating all of our SOCS sites to assess compliance with common accessibility guidelines. These guidelines are designed to ensure sites are usable by all people, including people with disabilities. SOCS has always been designed to be accessible but, as guidelines evolve and new content is created and added, we think it’s wise to periodically verify compliance.
Our evaluation is based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 - Level A) developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative. Evaluations, and any steps taken to remediate accessibility issues, will be done under our existing support agreement without additional costs to you.
Once our evaluation has been completed, we will be in contact you with the results. We expect this process to take several months to complete. If you receive a contact from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), please give us a call and we will immediately check your site and assist with any compliance requested.
What does FES do to ensure your site is compliant?
We use an automated tool to analyze web pages for compliance with accessibility guidelines. We will evaluate the formatting of the home, section, article and archive pages to ensure they are Level A compliant. Many items needing to be corrected only affect website screen readers and won’t change the look of your site. In some cases there may be slight adjustments to text size and color contrast to aid those with impaired vision. FES will be making these minor adjustments for you. If a significant change is needed to your site, FES will contact you for direction.
Common issues that may be found include:
- Missing home and copyright links to aid navigation in text-only browsers and screen readers.
- Missing table labels, captions and summaries to allow screen readers to render a table intelligently.
- Links that only make sense when used visually.
- Links that open new windows without warning.
- Images with missing or non-descriptive labels, alt-tags and captions.
What you can do to ensure your site is compliant?
Train the staff that creates content for your site. Accessibility compliance information can be found on the WCAG website. FES is also designing webinars for best practices on how to maintain website accessibility.
An article from Education Week (Aug. 2, 2016) highlights the importance of accessibility compliance: Advocate Moves Needle on Website Accessibility.