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Accessible Web Pages FAQ


  1. What is the legislation that requires me to make my Web site accessible to disabled individuals? To top

    The legislation that applies to us as a federally funded institution is Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 (ADA). It is intended to protect qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in the services, programs, or activities of all state and local governments. It says that a public institution of higher learning must take appropriate steps to ensure that communication with persons with disabilities is "as effective as communication with others". Conditions of effectiveness include timeliness, accuracy, and provision in a manner and medium appropriate to the significance of the abilities of the disabled individual.

    While the ADA does not specifically mention them, the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and the Section 508 Guidelines are the best sources to look at for standards.

  2. Why is the issue of Web accessibility important to sites at UW-Eau Claire? To top

    In May 1999, the University of Wisconsin President's Advisory Committee on Disability Issues appointed the Committee on Access to Technology for Individuals with Disabilities. It was charged to prepare a white paper to provide guidance to the UW System Administration and UW Institutions regarding disability issues. The final report was issued in December 1999.

    With regard to the Internet and Web it recommends:

    • Web-based activities and online courses must be accessible to persons with disabilities
    • Captioning and transcripts should be provided for audio and video clips
    • If instructors make use of Web-based material, plans and equipment must be in place to provide access to the required material for all persons enrolled in a course.

  3. My site is a department or office site not related to teaching. Does this apply to me? To top

    Yes. Departments or offices that use the Internet to provide information regarding their programs, or services must offer those communications through accessible means.

  4. My site is a curricular site. I don't have any students with disabilities so do I need to do anything? To top

    Faculty who make use of Web-based materials in their classes should have plans and equipment in place to provide access to the required material for all persons enrolled in their course, as per the recommendations in the UW-System report from the Committee on Access to Technology for Individuals with Disabilities.

  5. My site is a student organization site. Does this apply to me? To top

    Yes. A student organization that uses the Internet to provide information regarding their programs or services must offer those communications through accessible means.

  6. Is there a deadline for becoming compliant? To top

    All web pages must be compliant before they are published to the Internet.

  7. How difficult is it to make my site compliant? To top

    It depends on how complicated your site is to begin with. But generally speaking, designing an accessible Web site is not as difficult as most people believe. Often it is a matter of applying alternate text to graphic elements, using standard code, and making sure that information that is not accessible is supplied in an alternate accessible format.

  8. I'm in charge of updating Web pages for a site but I'm not comfortable with making these changes. What should I do? To top

    There are several options available. For do-it-yourself help, check out the many online available, starting with Web Publishing & Accessibility from our Online Help collection.

    LTS Training offers a variety of workshops for staff and students. Check the workshop schedules found on their site.

    Or contact Web Development Services at

  9. Won't accessible Web sites be less appealing? To top

    On the contrary, pages that are totally accessible can look identical to their non-accessible counterparts.

    Accessible sites may have other advantages as well. Images that are properly identified and sound and video that are captioned or have transcripts can be indexed and will turn up in searches. With the growth of Personal Digital Assistants (PDA's) and Web site content delivered to cell phones, having text-based content is becoming more important, because the screens on such devices are so small.

  10. What types of disabilities do I have to be concerned with? To top

    The primary disabilities involve those with limited or no sight and reading disabilities. If your site contains sound (such as audio or video) you will also need to provide a transcript or closed captioning for those with hearing impairments. There are also special design concerns for the color blind.

  11. What are some of the problems people with disabilities face with Web sites? To top

    Ordinary text on a Web site is the most accessible form of information on a Web site for persons with any disability. But because the Web has evolved to include graphics, animations, videos, sounds and other non-text displays, this has created a barrier to the handicapped because specially adapted equipment does not handle them well. While by no means exhaustive, here is a list of solutions to some common problems.

    • Provide text equivalents using the Alt attribute for non-text elements (i.e., images, animations, audio, video)
    • Avoid image maps or provide an alternate text list
    • Provide summaries of graphs and charts
    • Ensure that all information conveyed with color is also available without color
    • Provide text for audio clips and description for video clips
    • Organize content logically and clearly
    • Provide alternative content for features (e.g., applets or javascript) that may not be supported

    For more detail about problem correction, visit Accessible Web Pages.

  12. Why can't making UW-Eau Claire Web sites accessible be done centrally? To top

    Web Development Services is only responsible for the top-level pages of the UW-Eau Claire Web site. Responsibility for all other sites resides with their Web publishers. While it would be ideal to coordinate the effort centrally, there simply aren't enough resources to do so.

  13. How can I assess the accessibility of my site? To top

    There are several ways to do this:

    • Turn images off through your browser options to see how well you can navigate.
    • Invite people with disabilities to review your pages.
    • Have a screen reader read your pages aloud. A demo version of JAWS for Windows is available.
    • Use accessibility features in your Web editing software.
    • Use accessibility testing software.