Designing Accessible Websites
Laws and Guidelines
May 1999 - the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an organization that sets standards for the Web, approved recommendations for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.
June 2001- the US Government's Section 508 standards become effective for all federal agencies and entities operating federal contracts. Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities.
June 2002 - the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) published Section S206 on Accessibility and Usability of Institutions of Higher Education Web Sites.
2002 - The University of Texas at Tyler published a Web Accessibility Policy to establish a minimum accessibility standard for web pages.
September 2005 - Texas House Bill 2819 requires state agencies to develop, procure, maintain and use electronic and information technology that is accessible to people with disabilities.
December 2008 - Web Content Accessibility Guideline 2.0 is finalized.
- Current Accessibility Texas Administrative Code - Rule §206.70
- Current Accessibility Standards for Institutions of Higher Education - Chapter 213
Standards for Measuring Accessibility
There are three recognized standards for measuring accessibility.
- Section 508 Standards
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG)
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG)
We recommend using the section 508 standard for the following reasons:
- Experience: 508 was developed after WCAG 1.0 and highlights the most critical accessibility checkpoints.
- Measurable: 508 standards developed to be objective and measurable making it easier to test and comply.
- Shorter: 508 has 16 checkpoints. WCAG 1.0 has over 60. WCAG 2.0 is so new not many automated tools are available to test for it yet. Section 508 is being rewritten to harmonize with WCAG 2.0 Level 1.