Digital

Accessibility

Further information

When inaccessible technologies must be used, equivalent accessible pages must be provided.

Further information is in the Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA).

It is unlawful to discriminate against a person with a disability by excluding access to information and services, including those delivered online.

Accessibility doesn't just apply to people with a range of disabilities, but also those with slow internet connections or who use mobile phones, portable digital assistants and other devices to access web content.

The W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are the most comprehensive guidelines for ensuring that websites are accessible. They have been endorsed by Australia's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), disability groups and rural groups.

UWA's web accessibility requirements are set out in the University Web Policy.

Images

Images which are not purely decorative should be tagged with short, meaningful descriptions in the Alt-text field.

If an image of an aircraft has an Alt description of "plane", a visitor using a screen reader may not know whether the image is of a carpenter's tool, a stretch of land, an aircraft or a two-dimensional object. A better description would be "A Qantas 737 aircraft in flight".

Documents in an image-based format such as GIF or TIF and pictorial content such as graphs and maps are not accessible to people who are blind or vision-impaired and who rely on Braille or synthetic-speech to read computer screens. An alternative representation of the information, preferably as text on an HTML page, should be provided where possible.

Purely decorative images should have a blank Alt-text field (alt="")

PDF (Portable Document Format)

On the web PDF documents do not engender success like HTML documents do. Search engines and users with special needs do not enjoy PDF nearly as much as HTML and the benefits it brings. We have written a short expose on some popular PDF myths.

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's view is that "organisations that publish documents only in PDF risk complaint under the DDA unless they make the content available in at least one additional format and in a manner that incorporates principles of accessible document design. Additional formats should be published simultaneously with the PDF version, and at least one such format should be downloadable as a single document if the PDF version is available as a single download."

HTML is the format most appreciated by contemporary digital audiences. The use of PDF documents on the University website is acceptable if accessible alternatives are provided.

Accessible design in MySource Matrix

Many accessibility aspects are dealt with automatically in the MySource Matrix CMS. These include most Priority One elements, such as:

  • Validated mark-up is used for the templates and style sheets.
  • Use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for consistent presentation and layout of content.
  • Text is used for headings and links with the only imaged text used being in the University's logotype. Site titles are embedded in the code as plain text and rendered as images by graphical browsers.
  • Font size is adjustable by the web browser.
  • High contrast between text and background is used for improved readability.
  • Links are easily recognised, appear and behave consistently. They are blue in colour and also identified by underline and rollover behaviour to provide additional visual cues. Links which have been visited are identified by a different colour.
  • Navigation menus and forms work with or without JavaScript.

However, there are some priorities which you will have to implement when creating web pages in the MySource Matrix CMS:

Reducing your PDFs can improve access for visitors. Annual page views on the website of the Victorian Government’s Department of Primary Industries increased from 4.2 million to 5.8 million when they purged their PDFs.