The college is committed to making its Web content accessible to all users. Web accessibility is mandated by New York's policy NYS-P08-005, "Accessibility of Web-Based Information and Applications" (PDF; 436KB).
Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read the policy. If Acrobat Reader is not installed on your computer, you can download it for free from Adobe.
People are often intimidated by Web accessibility, but the techniques are not hard. Further, making your site accessible will not stop you from making your site attractive, or from using current technology.
As part of the technical review while your site is under development, your pages will be tested for accessibility. If any corrections are needed, you will need to make them before your site can go live.
What does "accessible" mean?
Most commonly, "accessible" means that people with disabilities can "perceive, understand, navigate and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web." (Web Accessibility Initiative, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C))
More broadly, "accessible" means that Web content is understandable and navigable for all Web users, no matter what technology they use: a screen reader, a digital device such as a smartphone, or a Web browser on a standard computer.
Specific Accessibility Standards
Note: The standard page layouts used in the TerminalFour (t4) system already meet the state standards. If your site uses the standard layouts, you only need to concern yourself with the content in the body of your pages.
New York state's policy directs state agencies to abide by the following parts of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973:
- 1194.22 Web-based intranet and Internet information and applications. 16 rules.
Note: Paragraph "m" references 1194.21 Software applications and operating systems as well.
- 1194.31 Functional performance criteria.
A complete checklist for the Section 508 requirements has been developed by WebAIM, a highly respected organization within the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. You can use WebAIM's checklist for guidance on making your Web content accessible. Contact the college Web manager if you have questions or need help.
Benefits of Making Web Content Accessible
When content is accessible, people with disabilities, especially those who rely on assistive technologies such as screen readers, can use the content by themselves. They don't need to contact someone at the college and wait until someone is available to help.
Better still, the techniques that make a webpage accessible to people who use assistive technologies also serve other important needs. Accessible webpages are:
- more compatible with the many different Web browsers in use
- more compatible with mobile technologies such as smartphones
- better optimized for search engines.