Clarify WCAG and Creating a Culture of Web Accessibility (Session 8E)
Main Topic: Online Learning and Technology
Session Type: Skill Share
The W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 A/AA has revolutionized web accessibility. WCAG 2.0 A/AA is used as the standard for government procurements under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and as the minimum threshold for settlement agreements by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education in their settlement agreements and Letters of Findings. At the same time, WCAG is difficult to learn and harder to implement because of its confusing structure and overlapping requirements. For organizations that do not specialize in accessibility, this makes compliance hard. This situation is unfortunate because the concepts included in WCAG are relatively easy to learn. Another problem with our society’s current approach to web accessibility is that too many requirements get back-loaded to developers. For instance, testing may reveal that web pages do not provide sufficient contrast and so developers must change the style sheets for web pages to increase contrast. Color contrast, however, should have been addressed in the wireframe and design stage. Had the designers, developers, and QA teams all known that a 4.5:1 contrast ratio was required, each team member would understand their role in achieving accessibility—and how fulfilling their role helps the whole team succeed. This creates what we call a “culture of web accessibility.” But how do you rapidly create a culture of accessibility in an organization new to accessibility? Here, we have found that creating a list of requirements that builds on the WCAG 2.0 is highly-effective when combined with short, targeted training and a set of unique checklists written for each of the different role types in the web development process. For instance, rather than force web developers to wade through the 50 different supporting techniques and 13 different failure techniques in WCAG 1.3.1, we propose breaking it into seven smaller requirements (which we can number 126.96.36.199 through 188.8.131.52)—and then giving creative, technical, and QA teams their own checklists for meeting these seven requirements. This presentation will trace the evolution of this approach to web accessibility and discuss its benefits and disadvantages. We will give an example of how any organization can create a similar approach and we will also talk about specific markets (e.g. online education content producers and vendors) where this approach seems to work best. This course is intended for beginning and intermediate web accessibility program managers trying to implement web accessibility in their organizations. It will not review WCAG in detail; rather than dissect WCAG, it will focus on a process for dividing and understanding WCAG.
- Differentiate actionable requirements from vague guidelines
- Apply these skills to create clear web accessibility requirements based on WCAG specific to their organization
- Construct an easy framework for a culture of accessibility within their organizations.
Keywords: WCAG, ADA
Mr. Ken NakataConverge Accessibility - Principal
Ken Nakata is a Principal of Converge Accessibility, a web and digital technology consulting firm that brings together a unique combination of legal and technical expertise. As a consultant, Ken has helped clients of all sizes manage digital accessibility and has worked with organizations like NASA, Microsoft, and HP in shaping accessibility policy. Before forming Converge, he was a Senior Trial Attorney in the Disability Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition to overseeing ADA investigations and representing the Department in Federal court, he also helped the U.S. Access Board develop the original Section 508 regulations and technical assistance information for accessible website design. He also helped develop the Department’s policies for websites and technical information available on www.ada.gov. He is admitted to practice in New York, Washington DC, Washington state, and the District of Columbia.
Mr. Jeffrey SingletonConverge Accessibility LLC - Principal Senior Accessibility Consultant
Converge Accessibility LLC
Jeff Singleton is Co-Founder of Converge Accessibility. As a former member of Microsoft’s Accessible Technology Group, he has a keen understanding of accessibility standards and the impact accessibility issues have on individuals. Jeff has assisted companies like HP and Microsoft and government agencies like the VHA with their accessibility efforts. NASA has also trusted Jeff to perform accessibility reviews of the technologies used by its grantees. He regularly presents at accessibility conferences, such as CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, and the National ADA Symposium. Jeff holds the ADA Coordinator Title III Business Certificate and is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE).