Naren Salem

Website Accessibility

10 March ’16

To submit an online course for review with the TEA, we need to comply with a host of requirements. One of them, understandably, relates to accessibility. Their requirement is that we satisfy these two guidelines:

  • W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA - https://www.w3.org/WAI/Resources/
  • Federal Law - Section 508 - http://www.section508.gov/

Most of the guidelines and requirements are pretty common sense. Make the site readable, make sure it will work well with screen readers, make sure it won’t cause seizures. That kind of stuff.

There were a couple of online tools that I ran our site on. The cleanest one was http://www.cynthiasays.com/ The good-ish news is that in terms of our content we were flagged for two things.

  • Italics
  • Missing alt text for images

That’s not too bad. Mainly because we can easily fix these. I am not sure if the TEA will use some tool for their testing or if it will be up to reviewers.

Unfortunately we got pulled up for some other stuff as well. The testing tools flag some things with the Canvas framework. These are for some of their menu items and hidden elements. These flags range in severity with one or two showing up as ‘must fix’.

Canvas has a forum post that brags about how their site is designed for accessibility. I wonder what they have to say about the things that were detected by the online tools.

To explore this further I ran the tool on the following government websites

section508.gov (the accessibility standards website) whitehouse.gov irs.gov iCEVonline.com

And they all failed with similar issues to the ones on Canvas.

If our course is approved, we are required to get an independent body to certify the accessibility of our course website. This is due on May 5, 2017.