Web accessibility applies to much more than just static web pages. It covers access and use of all dynamic content and documents delivered via the Internet. It is access to the full immersive experience! This experience should be available to everyone. If it cannot be perceived in the same form, then the experience should have the same outcome for everyone. The guidelines that help people make sure that the experience is the best possible one for everyone is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (version 2), known as WCAG 2.0, from the World Wide Web Consortium.
Compliance with WCAG 2.0 has been mandated by the Australian Government. In its Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy, the Australian Government has defined a government website as one that:
Universities web presences, because universities fall under the federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for funding and reporting, may therefore be government websites, and may be required to comply with WCAG 2.0 Single A by December 2012 and Double A by December 2014.
Before this requirement existed and whether or not it applies to universities, all universities need to make their websites accessible because they fall under the definition of services provided for education under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992). The Australian Human Rights Commission, which enforces this Act, endorses WCAG 2.0.
Not many people are on dial-up modems now, particularly university students and staff, but many internet packages throttle back to extremely slow speeds once the set quota has been exceeded. Other packages get very expensive at this point. Therefore keep your file sizes small. Download speed is the single accessibility factor that affects everyone. In particular, people with disabilties need to wait for the file before they can find out whether their assistive technology can work with it.
Authorised by the Associate Director, Service Delivery & Support
23 November, 2012