Web Accessibility Governance
At first blush, it seems there are many stakeholders with their own sets of rules and definitions governing web accessibility.
The reality is that guidelines put forward by these multiple entities largely overlap and reinforce each other, with only slightly different areas of focus.
Accessibility guidelines exists at the international level (the WCAG),
the federal level (Section 508),
the state agency level (Texas DIR)
and our own university system.
As an entity with multiple facets, we are governed by multiple standards.
WCAG 2.0 Guidelines
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible.
Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision,
deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these.
Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
have been produced as part of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
The goals of the WCAG Working Group are discussed in the WCAG Working Group charter.
The WCAG Working Group is part of the WAI Technical Activity.
WCAG 2.0 success criteria are written as testable statements that are not technology-specific. Guidance about satisfying the success criteria in specific technologies,
as well as general information about interpreting the success criteria, is provided in separate documents.
See Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview for an introduction and links to WCAG technical and educational material.
Section 508 Requirements
Section 508, an amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973,
is a federal law mandating that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained,
or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.
The Board’s Section 508 Standards apply to electronic and information technology procured by the federal government, including computer hardware and software, websites, phone systems, and copiers. They were issued under section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires access for both members of the public and federal employees to such technologies when developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies.
The Section 508 Standards are part of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and address access for people with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. They contain technical criteria specific to various types of technologies and performance-based requirements which focus on functional capabilities of covered products. Specific criteria cover software applications and operating systems, web-based information and applications, computers, telecommunications products, video and multi-media, and self-contained closed products.
Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) Requirements
EIR accessibility is a responsibility shared by Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education.
State agencies and institutions of higher education are required to comply with Texas EIR Accessibility statutes and rules to provide accessibility.
The role of Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) is to provide leadership, governance, and oversight in the area of EIR accessibility.
We educate state agencies and institutions of higher education about accessibility requirements, point them to tools and resources that can help,
collaborate on ideas for future solutions, and support agencies’ efforts to make Texas government information and services accessible to everyone.
DIR is also responsible for EIR accessibility-related rulemaking.
- TGC 2054.451,
enacted in 2005, requires that all state agencies and institutions of higher education, provide state employees
and members of the public access to and use of electronic information resources.
- 1 TAC 206,
aligns state web accessibility standards with the federal regulations set forth in
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- 1 TAC 213,
enacted state standards for procurement, development, or usage of EIR for people with disabilities
and also aligns accessibility standards with the federal regulations set forth in
EIR offers a wide range of accessibility-related information, including a list of resources such as online tutorials and developer tools, and information for State Agency Accessibility Coordinators.
UT System Standards
UT System Administration strives to provide web-based services that are accessible to all members of the University community.
The University of Texas System Administration provides a work environment that affords equal access and opportunity to otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, in compliance with Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
As stated in Texas Administrative Code, Title 1, Part 10, 206 Subchapter (c) (206.70), it is the policy of the State of Texas that, "All new or changed web pages and web content shall comply with the standards described in this subchapter" for accessibility.
To ensure that UT System web pages are accessible despite physical, sensory, or environmental or technological barriers, UT System Administration adopts the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as the standard for web accessibility.