The Government Information Center works to help make state agency websites accessible. What does that mean? Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction or access to websites by people with disabilities. For example, accessible websites are inclusive to all, including those with a visual impairment, hearing impairment, or those that cannot use a mouse and keyboard to navigate a website. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality. This page is a collection of tools for website managers and agencies to utilize in order to meet website accessibility guidelines.
Always add “Alt text” to images. Alt text provides alternative information for an image if a user for some reason cannot view it (because of slow connection, an error in the src attribute, or if the user uses a screen reader).
Test out your site using a screen reader. Click on the “listen” button at the top of this page to understand how screen readers work (we use Read Speaker on this site, and on Delaware.gov). Notice how the screen reader works with headers, paragraph text, links, images, and tables.
Run your website thru the WAVE Tool Opens in new window, a free web evaluation tool that will flag accessibility errors (‘red flags’). Red flags should be fixed as quickly as possible.
Download the WAVE Google Chrome Extension Opens in new window, and then you can run websites behind the state firewall and see if there are any red flags to fix before you launch the site to the public.
Know that if your agency receives federal funding, you may be obligated to follow Section 508 Accessibility Standards Opens in new window. Make sure your agency’s policy staff, public information officer, and webmaster are aware of Section 508 standards.
Web Accessibility Training Opens in new window
WebAIM is a non-profit organization within the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. It’s mission is to “expand the potential of the web for people with disabilities by providing the knowledge, technical skills, tools, organizational leadership strategies, and vision that empower organizations to make their own content accessible to people with disabilities.
Online Accessibility Validator Opens in new window
WAVE is a free web evaluation tool provided by WebAIM. It is used to help make websites accessible through an evaluation process. Rather than providing a complex technical report, WAVE shows the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal whether a page is accessible or not.
Screen Reader Simulator Opens in new window
This simulator, from WebAIM, provides web developers with the experience of using the sorts of screen readers employed by visually-impaired visitors to their sites.
PDFs, Word Documents, Excel Sheets, etc. Our office has put together a quick reference guide for document accessibility. It only takes a few extra steps to make documents accessible to those with visual impairments or disabilities.
Accessibility Assistance from Adobe Opens in new window
ADOBE is a major provider of web-related software for both developers and users of websites. This page presents a number of tools and guidance documents related to ADOBE’s suite of products.
Language and Translation Tools
Accessibility is also about offering content in languages other than English. If your audience and web users speak English as a Second Language (ESL) then please consider translating your web content into their primary language.
Wikipedia includes a list of screen reader software Opens in new window to aid visually impaired web surfers.
The GIC has a license with Read Speaker Opens in new window, a web-based solution that uses text-to-audio on websites (you can see it in action by clicking the “listen” button at the top of this page – and make sure your volume is on). If your agency is interested in implementing Read Speaker, please contact us to get started.
The GIC and the Delaware Public Archives work together to develop a web archive of State of Delaware websites. If you want to add your agency’s website to the State of Delaware entire archive collection Opens in new window in ArchiveIt, just reach out to us.
Related Topics: Accessibility, Accessible Websites, Adobe Accessibility Assistance, Online Accessibility Validator, Screen Reader Simulator, Screen Reader Support, Section 508, Web Accessibility Training, Website Accessibility