What is Accessibility?
The key to web accessibility is flexibility and ease of use in navigation and information seeking. When flexibility is part of design and not an afterthought the user is provided with options to "surf" the web based on the tools available for productivity. For students with disabilities that may include tools known as "assistive technology."
- Screen reader software for users with visual impairments
- Screen enlarger software for users with low vision
- Text to voice software programs for users with learning disabilities
- Speech recognition software for users with mobility impairments
- Input devices such as trackballs and other ergonomic furniture enhancements
Designing web sites with accessibility in mind, not only benefits users with a disability it also provides improved performance and usability for non-disabled users. Not everyone has access to high speed connections. Downloading heavy graphic and multimedia enhanced pages can be frustrating for the most savvy user of the Internet. Frustration leads to closing the website or incomplete information gathering if the site is used for instructional purposes. Participation in today's society is through the exchange of information and flexible presentation of that information, which is critical to one's success.
Web Accessibility Standards
Santa Barbara City College supports the principle of "Universal Design" which promotes a high degree of usability for persons with disabilities. Guidelines are in accordance with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) developed by the W3C Web Accessibility Guidelines.
Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act, mandates that electronic and information technology be usable by persons with disabilities. One component of the technical standards requires accessibility of web pages.
Ensuring educational accessibility is foundational to achieving the Vision for Success goal of creating an equitable system of higher education, and is a critical piece of student success and degree completion.
One way accessibility can be achieved is through compliance with the Chancellor's Office Information and Communication Technology and Instructional Material Accessibility Standard.
Strategies to use During Web Development
- Test navigation using a mouse only
- Test pages in development with different browsers.
- Test pages in development with assistive technology.
- Validate web pages using code validators and web accessibility checkers.
- Read more about how to conduct Preliminary review of websites for accessibility (W3C/WAI guidelines). Evaluating website accessibility Overview.
Students who are requesting accommodations on the basis of disability should contact the Disabilities Specialists in Disability Services and Programs for Students (DSPS) in the Student Services Building, Room 160, (805) 965-0581, extension 2364, TTY (805) 962-4084, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For employees seeking a workplace accommodation, see AP 3410.