Illinois Community College Board

Web Accessibility

Evaluation, Plans for Improvement, and Annual Reporting

Requirements

Background

The information age has introduced new accessibility barriers to individuals with disabilities in the form of electronic resources such as internet access to the World Wide Web. Institutions use the web as an important means of communication with students, faculty, staff, and the general public. College websites contain many types of administrative and educational information. The internet offers a tremendous potential to help individuals with disabilities achieve greater independence and expand opportunities when web resources are designed with their needs in mind.

To address the increasing need for user-centered web designs, a resolution adopted by the Illinois Boiard of Higher Education (IBHE) on October 5, 2004 encourages each public university (and college) to:

  • identify the current state of its web accessibility,

  • develop, between Fall 2005 and Spring 2006, a detailed plan to continuously improve the institution's World Wide Web accessibility (including specific goals and activities; publicity, administration, instructional and departmental web service; and purchasing requirements for web services and tools), and

  • require institutions to report on the status of their World Wide Web accessibility as part of the annual Underrepresented Groups Report (beginning with reports submitted in January 2007).

The remainder of this document outlines a plan for accomplishing these three objectives.

Current Status and Continuous Improvement Plans

To address the first two objectives, each community college should submit a report to the ICCB by Monday, May 1, 2006. That report should consist of the following three components. Page guidelines are provided for each section. Some colleges may be able to cover the specified content in fewer pages.

Accessibility Standard (3 Pages)

Institutional reports should identify the standards the college is currently striving to comply with and why those standards were chosen. Section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act outlines basic electronic and information technology accessibility standards that institutions are required to meet. Institutions are encouraged to strive to meet higher standards including, but not limited to, the Illinois Web Accessibility Standards (IWAS), W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or other appropriate standards. Links to additional information about the aforementioned standards are provided in Appendix A.

Initial Evaluation of Institutional Web Pages (5 pages)

Based on the standards identified, an initial evaluation of the extent to which college web pages meet those standards should be conducted. Colleges may choose one of the following three options as the basis for this initial evaluation of their current institutional web pages.

  1. Beginning with the institution's home page, evaluate that page and each institutional page linked from the home page, going only one link deep from the home page;

    OR

  1. Identify and evaluate the 25 most utilized web pages;

    OR

  1. Utilize another approach with approval from ICCB staff.

Institutions are also asked to describe how these web pages will be improved when necessary. Supplemental information about common web page evaluation, repair, and development tools can be found in Appendix A.

Develop a Plan for Continuous Improvement and Annual Status Report on Web Accessibility (10 pages)

Each institution should describe a plan for continually improving the accessibility of institutional web pages. The plan should

  1. describe how the evaluation of current institutional web pages will be expanded and how accessibility will be improved if necessary, and

  1. describe how the institution will ensure accessibility of all future institutional web pages.

Institutional plans should include descriptions of any current or planned future policies, support programs, or purchasing requirements that relate to ensuring accessibility of institutional web pages as appropriate.

Plans should clearly identify the actions the college will take with a corresponding time line. This will be the basis for future status reports to be submitted to ICCB through the annual Underrepresented Groups Report. Beginning with the Underrepresented Groups Report submitted in January 2007, colleges will be asked to provide a status report on the goals and activities outlined in the Plan for Continuous Improvement, as submitted to ICCB on May 1, 2006. The status report should also include a description of any changes to the goals outlined in those plans and why such changes are necessary.

APPENDIX A

Colleges are welcome to pursue this project in a manner that best meets their local needs. The ICCB offices are in the midst of a related project and staff are working with a vendor using LIFT Text Transcoder (LTT) technology to create a dynamically-generated, text-only, and accessible (ADA compliant) view of agency web sites and web applications. When complete, this initiative should improve support for people with disabilities and those using assistive and alternative technology (PDA's, Blackberries, cell phones, etc.) for web access.

Other colleges and universities using LIFT Text Transcoder (LTT) for web accessibility include the Houston Community College System, University of Illinois, University of Georgia, University of Alabama, University of Virginia, University of Michigan, Pennsylvania State University, Louisiana State University, and others. Examples can be seen at http://eduportal.usablenet.com

Other related useful links include :

http://opa.uiuc.edu/webservices/

http://tt.uga.edu

http://webguide.ua.edu/lift.html

If several colleges are interested in this technology as part of their efforts to enhance web access for individuals with disabilities a consortium arrangement may be possible. If a group of colleges choose to move in this direction collaborating to designate a single point of contact with the vendor might be beneficial.

Accessibility Standards

Section 508

http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Content&ID=12#Web

IWAS:

http://www.illinois.gov/iwas/standards/iwasStandards.cfm

W3C:

http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/

Evaluation Tools and Resources

WEBXACT (formerly Bobby)

http://webxact.watchfire.com/

A-Prompt

http://www.aprompt.ca/

W3C HTML Markup Validation Service

http://validator.w3.org/

W3C css-validator

http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/

Usablenet

http://www.usablenet.com/

Additional Resources

Illinois Center for Instructional Technology Accessibility

http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/

UIUC evaluation tool WAMT http://cita.disability.uiuc.edu/wamt

There is no charge for using the tool. The tool uses standards that exceed 508 and W3C and does checks that other tools can not do. The site and the tool are still under development but UIUC is happy to share it and welcomes all feedback. Jon Gunderson (jongund@uiuc.edu / 217-244-5870) can respond to specific questions.

Illinois Community College Board

Web Accessibility

Evaluation, Plans for Improvement, and Annual Reporting

Requirements

Illinois Accessible Web Publishing Wizard (www.accessiblewizards.uiuc.edu ).- Several universities in Illinois have site licenses. There is a discount for Universities in the State of Illinois http://www.accessiblewizards.uiuc.edu/pricing/offer.php

Illinois Community College Board

Web Accessibility

Evaluation, Plans for Improvement, and Annual Reporting

Requirements

More information is available at http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/courses/2005-10-REHAB711NC/index.html

Access through Adaptive Computer Technology and Website Design

(IBHE-HECA Grant Project)

http://www.siu.edu/~dss/Access/Web_Overview.htm

Text Only Version Text Mostly Version Outline Version