Accessibility

Making sure you have a fully accessible website is extremely important for both the University and website users.

University websites and accessibility

We have an obligation to comply with legislation and guidelines surrounding website accessibility. Part of that obligation is that our websites do not discriminate against a person on the grounds of a disability.

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  • Accessibility and the law

    In Australia, Section 24 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992  (DDA) makes it unlawful for someone who provides goods or services, or makes facilities available, to discriminate against another person on the ground of the other person's disability.

    For more information, refer to Section 24 - Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

    How does section 24 of the DDA relate to websites?

    The DDA does not mention websites specifically. However, the Australian Human Rights Commission  has issued Advisory Notes  relating to the Act which assist individuals and organisations involved in the ownership or development of web resources, by clarifying the requirements of the DDA, and explaining how compliance can be achieved.

    These Advisory Notes recognise the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, developed by W3C, represent 'the most comprehensive and authoritative international benchmark for best practice in the design of accessible websites'.

    As such, our websites need to comply with the WCAG 2.0, Level AA standards.

    The case of Bruce Maguire vs the Sydney Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (SOCOG)  in August 2000 was the first legal case brought and won against a web content provider on the grounds that their website was inaccessible for people with disabilities.

    Bruce Maguire, who is blind, was unable to access certain parts of the Olympic Games website because the site failed to provide text alternatives for images.

    SOCOG were found to have engaged in unlawful conduct under section 24 of the DDA by providing a website which, because of his blindness, was significantly inaccessible.

  • University Disability Action Plan

    The University completed an Accessibility Review as a key achievement of the Disability Action Plan purpose over 2008-2013.

    As the Disability Action Plan 2014-2019 reads: " An Accessibility Review to better facilitate compliance of the website with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines" as one of the key specific achievements over 2008 to 2013.

  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

    Our website needs to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, Level AA standards.

    Level AA means that our website will be accessible for most people, under most circumstances, with most technologies they use.

    There are 13 guidelines that comprise the WCAG 2.1. These are:

    Perceivable

    Operable

    Understandable

    Robust

    When creating content in the University templates, please consider these W3C accessibility checkpoints:

    1. Images: image descriptions should be used to describe the function of an image.
    2. Multimedia: captioning and transcripts should be provided for audio, and descriptions should be available of video.
    3. Hypertext links: the link text should make sense when read out of context, therefore avoid "click here".
    4. Page organisation: maximise consistency of structure and use headings and lists for organisation.
    5. Graphs or charts: summarise the content where appropriate.
    6. Scripts plug-ins and applets: provide alternative content to allow for situations where active features are inaccessible or unsupported.
    7. Tables: summarise content and ensure line by line reading is sensible.

     

    NOTE: On 15 October 2012, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) announced the approval of the WCAG 2.0 as an ISO/IEC International Standard .

  • Accessibility and ethics

    In Australia, non-discrimination and the equal right to participate are held as strong moral values.

    Doing our best to ensure we have created accessible websites is an expression of those values and our social responsibility.

  • Further reading

Accessibility evaluation tools

Web accessibility evaluation tools are software programs or online services that help determine if a website meets accessibility guidelines.

While these tools can significantly reduce the time and effort to evaluate websites, no tool can automatically determine the accessibility of websites.

Visit the Accessibility tools page for more information.