Accessibility Guidelines

Here are the answers and explanations to last week’s GAAD Accessibility quiz.

Q. Who benefits from accessible content?

A. Everyone

Browser extensions and accessibility settings are great for people who wish to further customize their experience to fit their individual preferences when accessing websites but these are not a replacement for adhering to accessibility guidelines.

The US Access Board has made an announcement regarding the Section 508 refresh.  The draft rule will now be sent to the Federal Register for publication.  After that, there will be a 90-day public comment period.

In the draft rule (255 Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements), Electronic Content, Platforms and Applications will need to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA. You can read more about the Section 508 refresh at the Access Board website.

There will be two public hearings:

  1. March 5, 2015 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (PT)
    Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel
    One Market Place
    Mission Beach A & B (3rd floor)
    San Diego, CA 92101
    Note: This hearing will be held in conjunction with the CSUN Conference but persons wishing only to testify need not register for the conference.
  2. March 11, 2015 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (ET)
    U.S. Access Board Conference Room
    1331 F Street, NW
    Suite 800
    Washington, DC 20004

Witnesses can testify in person at the hearing in San Diego.  Witnesses can testify in person or by telephone at the hearing in Washington, DC.  Copies of the rule will not be available at the hearings.  Call-in information and a communication access real-time translation (CART) web streaming link for the Washington, DC hearing will be posted before the hearing.

For information on pre-registering to testify, please contact Kathy Johnson at (202) 272–0041, (202) 272-0082(TTY), or johnson@access-board.gov.

If you have questions about the rule once it is made public, please contact Tim Creagan at (202) 272-0016, (202) 272-0074(TTY), or 508@access-board.gov.

There will be a free webinar about the proposed rule on Tuesday, March 31 from 1:00 pm - 2:30pm (ET); sign up for the webinar.

Media Access Australia released a white paper, The accessibility of cloud computing – current and future trends, which outlines the need for commercial and government services to implement accessibility into their cloud based assets.

The author, Dr. Scott Hollier of Media Access, said that the research supported a need to implement accessibility into cloud services by looking at the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) put forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C.)

The research in the paper supports organizations improving their accessibility and usability of cloud services as essential criteria to maximize customer engagement and opportunities and to stay current in a competitive market.  

New rules requiring closed captioning of video clips posted online have been approved by the Federal Communication Commission. These new rules further the purpose of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) helping ensure equal access to programming by people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

There are multiple deadlines according to the type of video clip.

  • January 1, 2016 for “straight lift” clips, which show a single excerpt of a captioned program with no changes to the audio
  • January 1, 2017 for “montages”, which contain multiple straight lift clips
  • July 1, 2017 for live and near-live programing within 8 hours of airing on television.

The requirements don’t apply to video clips in the distributor’s online library before the applicable compliance deadline because compliance for this category of video clips is considered to be economically burdensome. 

WAI announce publication of the completed Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM)

WCAG-EM is an informative W3C Working Group Note. It describes an approach for evaluating how websites, including Web applications and websites for mobile devices, conform to WCAG 2.0. WCAG-EM provides guidance for individuals and organizations that evaluate web accessibility. It is also useful for those that have others evaluate their website.

Addition information can be found at the WCAG-EM Overview.

Game Accessibility Guidelines is a free web-based resource to help game developers create games that are more inclusive of people with disabilities. This year they were unveiled at the M:Enabling conference in Washington DC as the winner of the Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility, which is the world’s most prominent award for promoting innovation in information technology accessibility for people with disabilities.

Game Accessibility Guidelines hopes to aid developers in creating games with better access and inclusion for people who have disabilities. This would include games on the PC, consoles and mobile devices.

On May 15, 2014 awareness of digital accessibility, which includes web, software, mobile applications and devises, will reach new heights. Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a community-driven effort with the goal of dedicating one day to raising awareness for digital accessibility to a broad audience. The hope is that awareness increases amongst designers, developers and other people involved in information communication technology (ICT).

Businesses and individuals who are looking for guidelines to help achieve accessibility for website or digital products can refer to the Section 508 or WCAG 2.0 guidelines. It may also be helpful to seek guidance from an accessibility consultant.   

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.0 is now a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Recommendation. Publishing WAI-ARIA is an important step making web content and application more accessible to people with disabilities. WAI-ARIA defines how developers of browsers, media players, mobile devices and assistive technologies (AT), and content developers can achieve better cross-platform accessibility. WAI-ARIA is introduce in the WAI-ARIA Overview.

More information on WAI-ARIA

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