Making web content accessible

Websites developed with a focus on accessibility are more usable for everybody, regardless of disability, age, ethnicity or technology. It is estimated that one in five people has some kind of disability; that is a large audience that could potentially miss out on information if content is not presented appropriately.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 we must ensure that people with disabilities have the same fundamental rights to access information and services as others in the community.

As an educational organisation we must progressively work towards being compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA by December 2014, as set out by the Australian Government's Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy (NTS).

WWCAG 2.0 is a set of guidelines developed by organisations belonging to the World Wide Web Consortium which make recommendations for making content more accessible. These guidelines give consideration to the broad range of web users and ways people use the web. This includes those with disabilities:

  • Visual or hearing
  • Cognitive and neurological
  • Physical impairments.

While the main focus of accessibility is people with disabilities, it also benefits:

  • Older people
  • People with low literacy or not fluent in English
  • People with low bandwidth connections or using older technologies
  • New and infrequent users
  • Mobile device users

Tips for making content accessible

Our website’s design templates comply with accessibility guidelines; this is why we insist that all web content use them. Web publishers are not permitted to make changes that override the design templates. You should ensure the following:

  • Colours should not be added to table backgrounds or headings.
  • Images that are not decorative should have appropriate ‘alternate (or alt) text’ that describes the function and the purpose of the image.
  • Allow the templates to control how the text is presented by not specifying font faces, colours or sizes.
  • Avoid the use of all capitals.
  • Text should be left-aligned.
  • Apply heading styles (eg. Heading 2, Heading 3) only to text that is a heading. Do not use heading styles to make text appear a certain way.
  • Use heading styles appropriately. Don't skip headings. (Our page titles are Heading 1, so the next heading to be applied should be Heading 2, then Heading 3 etc.).

If you would like to develop something outside the set colour range, design or page layout please contact us to discuss your requirements.