55 million people in the United States, nearly 20% of the country's population, have a disability that make it difficult, if not impossible, to use the web. Many pages contain features that disallow them from accessing some or all of the content. Disabilities that keep people from being able to access your content range from color blindness and Attention Deficit Disorder through blindness and lack of fine motor control. Whatever the reason for the disability, it is important to ensure that those with a disability are able to view the materials on the web.
The need for accessible web pages becomes greater in an educational setting. Certain laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which dictate that all persons be given equal access to education and public buildings may also apply to educational materials placed on the web. The same laws that require Wisconsin universities to provide access to adaptive technologies, such as Braille readers and speech encoders, require similar technologies be provided for the web.
Earlier this year, the UW system determined that Accessibility problems may be denying students and staff members with disabilities their rights to access instructional materials on the web. The UW Oshkosh has set June of 2002 as the target date for completion of its web page review. The complete text of UW Oshkosh's accessibility plan can be found at this link.
Accessibility is a set of simple guidelines that ensure your web pages will be readable by everyone. Most pages at the University will require only a few minor changes. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has developed a set of standards that encapsulate good design techniques and assure accessible pages. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) categorizes these techniques into three priorities. Priority One, the most important items, are the only steps required by the University System at this time. However, the System recommends compliance with Priority Two checkpoints and checkpoint 13.5 of Priority Three.
Bobby is a web-based validation tool that will check the accessibility of a page, and display problems it finds. Bobby works with Macintosh, Windows, or any other operating system. Access Bobby's evaluation of this page.
A-Prompt is a wizard-driven application that checks html pages on a local machine. A-Prompt walks the user through each step of accessibility, suggesting changes along the way. A-Prompt is a Windows application only.
Betsie is a cgi script that examines pages within the uwosh domain and returns a text-only version. Betsie is a good way to ensure an accurate text version of your page. Betsie should not be used as a first effort at accessibility, but only after all other attempts have failed.
The Dreamweaver accessibility patch is available for download. This adds functionality to Dreamweaver 3.0 for checking accessibility of a page. This feature is a bit cumbersome, most users will be better off using Bobby or A-Prompt.
Macromedia recently released the Section 508 Dreamweaver Extension and Starter Kit, a Dreamweaver extension available for both Mac and PC versions of Dreamweaver 4. This extension is a more intutive wizard driven system, though the language leans toward the technical side.
MAGpie helps authors add captions to three multimedia formats: Apple's QuickTime, the World Wide Web Consortium's Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) and Microsoft's Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange (SAMI) format.Ê MAGpie can also integrate audio descriptions into SMIL presentations.
Adobe Acrobat PDF Accessibility Tools provides information on creating a more accessible PDF.
A succinct guide will walk you though the conversion of your existing page to an accessible document.
The University has built a Priority One Accessibility Tutorial page to assist the University community in assessing webpages and bringing them in line with access guidelines. Additional Priority tutorials will be provided shortly.
The University understands that faculty members and staff may need help to make accessible webpages. See the Accessibility Training Page for information about upcoming training opportunities.
The Idea Lab (Polk 7) and the Presentations Lab (Polk 5) have screen reader software, code validation tools, and knowledgeable people able to assist you in redesigning your page. If you have attended a training session and you are still in need of assistance, contact Sean Ruppert (x7361; email firstname.lastname@example.org) or AnnMarie Johnson (x2210; email email@example.com) to arrange an appointment.
Blackboard accessibility training is conducted regularly. See the Blackboard training schedules for dates and times or contact AnnMarie Johnson (x2210; email firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance.
A Blackboard course is available that provides examples and guidelines for making a Blackboard course accessible.
A Blackboard tip page exists to assist instructors in making their course accessible.
The W3C/WAI have an extensive collection of resources relating to the standards.
The WAI Web Accessibility Guidelines lists the standards and prioritizes them.
The Accessibility Checklist provides an easy framework to check the accessibility of your site.
The Accessibility Techniques page gives advice for implementing the standards.
- Main Page - UW Oshkosh Plan - Quickstart Page - Priority One Tutorial - Building Good Alt Tags - Converting a Page from Frames - Training - UW Oshkosh - Sitemap and Accessibility Features of this Site -